The National Health Act 2007 is widely recognized as the first-ever act in Thailand that the public participation plays a key role in the making from the outset. Throughout eight years before the enactment, there is much more to be told.
In 2000, a senatorial committee on the public health publicized “the National Health System” report and proposed a reform on the health system in the Constitution of the Kingdom 1997. It was the first time that “health system” became officially acknowledged.
As a result, a then-government issued the regulation of the Prime Minister’s Office about the reform on the national health system, established a National Health System Reform Commission chaired by a Prime Minister and established the National Health System Reform Office under the Health Systems Research Institute (HSRI) to handle with various secretarial functions, and accelerate the national health system reform through the development of the National Health Bill in order to serve as a principle law.
The process of preparing the act was mainly focused on greater public participation incorporated with academic works.
In 2004, more than 100,000 people gave their signatures in support of the drafted National Health Act. 3 years later, the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) approved to enact the National Health Act.
At the in-between stage of the making, some key ideas in the drafted act were put into practice such as the establishment of area-based health assembly, issue-based health assembly and national health assembly with the aim of exchanging relevant information and developing public policies on health.
In 2007, the National Health Act was enacted and served as an effective tool to set guidelines on the national health development in which all parties in society have a hand. The National Health Act is regarded as a key instrument to create opportunity for everybody to make contribution to the national health system.
The National Health Act gives birth to the National Health Commission (NHC) in order to support the development of healthy public policies in cooperation with various sectors in society. The commission also provides helpful advices to a government and state agencies at both national and local levels to take the people’s well-being into consideration.
The National Health Commission Office (NHCO) was set up in 3rd March, 2007, in order to carry out various secretarial functions for the NHC. The NHCO is overseen by an executive board appointed by the NHC.