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11 Sep, 2015

Thailand Promotes Herbal Medicine and Health Behavior Change Program

Bangkok, 11 September 2015, The Department of Thai Traditional and Complementary Medicine has been told to accelerate the development of Thai herbal medicine to international standards.

Public Health Minister Clinical Professor Dr. Piyasakol Sakolsatyadorn said that the Ministry of Public Health is ready to promote the growing of herbal plants as cash crops to generate income for the people.

He said that the Department of Thai Traditional and Complementary Medicine must work together with the Food and Drug Administration in order to speed up the registration of medicinal plants as generic drugs. Research and development in herbal medicine will be promoted, so that new drugs will be produced for medical treatment.

The Government has a policy to support the research and development of herbal plants to be processed into high-quality goods. The policy would add value to Thai herbal products and expand their reach to the world market. Thai medicinal plants are now increasingly used by the pharmaceutical industry.

The growth of alternative medicine, especially traditional medicine, is considered a factor that is making Thai herbs a popular choice for medical treatment. The Ministry of Public Health has a policy to promote the use of Thai herbs for treatments in various hospitals. Many general and community hospitals have used both traditional and modern medical systems to provide health services for the people. This will reduce heavy dependence on Western medicine, which is very costly.

Apart from promoting the use of Thai herbs, the Public Health Minister said that efforts would be stepped up to expand the number of villages under the health behavior change program. This program has been implemented in Thailand for six years now and it has so far covered more than 1,500 villages nationwide.

Behavior change has become a central objective of public health interventions worldwide, as the influence of prevention within the health services has increased.

According to the Ministry of Public Health, all villages in Roi Et and in the Northeast and Phang-nga in the South have joined the behavior change program, which focuses on health promotion. In this program, the Ministry of Public Health, with the help of public health volunteers, educates local people in a healthy lifestyle.

Members of the participating villages have been urged to exercise regularly and avoid alcohol and tobacco consumption. Positive thinking has been promoted among them. Campaigns have also been launched to promote healthy eating and encourage local people to learn about the production of food.

The Public Health Minister said that, in the next step, efforts would be made to push for the program as a national policy. He believes that when this program covers all areas in the country, Thai people will enjoy better health and the program will help reduce illness among the people.