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Our Health Our Rights to Health in Thailand

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Our Health Our Rights to Health in Thailand

Source: NHCO, Thailand and

Image by NHCO, Thailand

The representatives of the Thailand National Health Commission Office (NHCO) participated in this year’s ‘World Health Day’ on April 22nd, 2024, in Bangkok, Thailand. The event was organized by the World Health Organization (WHO) in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), Thailand, under the theme ‘Our Health, Our Right, Our Digital Future’.

Dr.Jos Vandelaer, WHO representative to Thailand, highlighted that access to quality healthcare services is a fundamental right for everyone, regardless of their race, religion, or gender. This includes equal access to basic and affordable healthcare services in all dimensions.

At the same time, Dr. Direk Sutdan, the Director of the Division of Health Economics and Health Security at the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), emphasized that every Thai citizen has the right to access healthcare and public health services, as well as the right to a dignified death and living in a healthy environment. These rights are enshrined in the National Health Act of 2007, which defines health as encompassing physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.

Miss Nanoot Mathurapote, the Head of Global Collaboration Unit at the National Health Commission Office (NHCO) in Thailand, pointed out that a significant aspect of the right to health outlined in this Act pertains to the ability to refuse the prolongation of life in the terminal stage through the creation of ‘a living will’. This document, as stated in Section 12 of the National Health Act B.E. 2550 (2007), allows individuals to express their intention to either accept or decline medical treatment. It grants individuals the right to draft a living will in writing, refusing public health services aimed solely at prolonging their terminal stage of life or opting out of services intended to alleviate severe suffering caused by illness.

An example of a living will is illustrated by the case of the late permanent secretary for the Ministry of Commerce of Thailand, Mr. Keerati Rushchano, who peacefully passed away on April 10, 2024. His family respected his wishes as expressed in the living will, which stated his preference to forego public health services aimed at prolonging his terminal stage, allowing nature to take its course.