Thailand’s internationally admired performance in the pandemic of the COVID-19 virus has showcased
the exceptional strengths of the country’s health care system and medical industry to further justify
its drive towards becoming one of the world’s top medical hubs.
A sophisticated healthcare system, universal healthcare coverage and robust public health consciousness have all contributed to Thailand’s success in containing the pandemic of COVID-19 virus and reporting one of the world’s lowest mortality rates from the disease.
Johns Hopkins University’s 2019 Global Health Security Index 1 ranked Thailand as the world’s 6th best prepared country for confronting the pandemic, reflecting the country’s public health care system’s preparedness for coping with major public health emergencies such as the pandemic of the Covid-19 virus.
Thailand ranks as the best country to have recovered from COVID-19 in Asia and ranks second among 184 countries recovering successfully from COVID-19 worldwide.
3.3 million healthcare and wellness tourists
Thailand’s National Statistics Office estimates that the country welcomed 3.3 million tourists who used its healthcare and wellness services in 2017. This number showed a continuous growth during the past decade.
The Ministry of Public Health’s survey in 2019 showed that Thailand’s ability to offer high-quality services at more reasonable cost charged by competitors in other countries is the most important factor in helping to attract the tourists for the medical and wellness industry.
Combined with the international reputation of Thailand’s attentive and world-class medical service facilities, the skill of its medical professionals and the consultations provided by its healthcare advisers, these are the key factors that draw a large number of visitors to Thailand’s healthcare and wellness tourism industry each year.
The survey also revealed that general medical care and surgeries, sophisticated orthopedics, in vitro fertilization, dental care are physical check-up are the medical services most sought after by the tourists.
The ministry is promoting ten areas of the medical and wellness services at the global level namely regenerative and anti-aging sciences, alternative medicine, cardio science, musculoskeletal, dental clinic, In Vitro fertilization, cancer treatment, surgeries, ophthalmology (cataract) and precision medicine.
The International Healthcare Research Center’s Medical Tourism Industry Index1 ranked Thailand as an attractive tourism destination well above the average at 6th out of 41 countries.
The ranking was based on the quality of Thailand’s medical services and the efforts it has made in gaining international accreditation for its hospitals and developing the quality of its medical staff. In terms of quality and services, Thailand is ranked 18th in the index, from a total of 41 countries.
Overall, the index indicates that Thailand is well on the path to establishing itself a medical tourism destination for worldwide populations.
This high-level of demand from abroad for Thailand’s medical facilities has provided the impetus for a range of technological advances, innovations, pharmaceuticals and clinical research centered on the strengths of biotechnology and digital medical devices to improve the services for patients with specific needs.
Thai hospitals and medical institutions are offering care with digitalized process, AI and big data technology to assist with and improve medical consultancy, diagnosis and overall services. The government has introduced many measures to facilitate tourists to visit Thailand for the medical services through extension of permitted period of stay and long-stay visas.
To support the medical industry’s ecosystem in Thailand’s special economic zone of Eastern Economic Corridor, the BOI is also offering incentives to assemblers and manufacturers in medical food and food supplement, medical robotics or automations, electronic control and measurement for medical devices, digital medical services, lab and clinical research facilities, standard certification testing and specialized medical care.
Skin-lightening products market to reach US$31 billion by 2024
In emerging Asian and African economies, the natural aspiration to enhance one’s circumstances has led to rapid growth in the market for skin-lightening products, which is projected to reach US$31 billion by 2024.
Has Covid-19 prompted the Belt and Road Initiative to go green?
– Chinese overseas investment dropped off in 2020
– Government remains committed to the wide-ranging infrastructure programme
– Sustainability, health and digital to be the new cornerstones of the initiative
Following a year of coronavirus-related disruptions, China appears to be placing a greater focus on sustainable, digital and health-related projects in its flagship Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
As OBG outlined in April last year, the onset of Covid-19 prompted questions about the future direction of the BRI.
Launched in 2013, the BRI is an ambitious international initiative that aims to revive ancient Silk Road trade routes through large-scale infrastructure development.
By the start of 2020 some 2951 BRI-linked projects – valued at a total of $3.9trn – were planned or under way across the world.
However, as borders closed and lockdowns were imposed, progress stalled on a number of major BRI infrastructure developments.
In June China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that 30-40% of BRI projects had been affected by the virus, while a further 20% had been “seriously affected”. Restrictions on the flow of Chinese workers and construction supplies were cited as factors behind project suspensions or slowdowns in Pakistan, Cambodia and Indonesia, among other countries.
Marijuana could generate up to Bt8 billion for Thailand’s pharmaceutical industry
Last year, Thailand removed cannabis and hemp leaves from its list of banned narcotics (seeds and buds remain banned).
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