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Migrants to be granted access to healthcare

Sep 05. 2013
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By THE NATION

The government plans to give migrant workers from Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos, as well as their families, access to national health services without having to undergo a nationality identification process.

 

Following a meeting with related and international agencies at Government House yesterday, Public Health Minister Pradit Sintava-narong said this decision stems from Prime Minister Yingluck Shina-watra’s policy to provide healthcare to everybody in the country, especially mothers and children accompanying migrant workers. He added that this policy would help solve social problems such as human trafficking, child abuse, prostitution, drug abuse and crimes, and would also be something in return for the contribution of migrant workers to the country’s gross domestic product.
Since migrants still had problems with the complicated nationality identification process, which also works out to be quite expensive, the government has chosen to get these workers and their families to register for national healthcare using just fingerprints and photo identification, he explained. 
As there are some 3 million migrant workers and families in Thailand, the Public Health and Labour ministries have decided to set up affordable healthcare plans, such as Bt1 per day for children, which would entitle them to free education; and Bt2,200 per year for adults plus another Bt600 per year for physical exams. 
Pradit said the meeting had also proposed setting up temporary community housing for migrant workers as a short-term solution. In the long-term, the Education Ministry will be asked to provide vocational education to workers in a move to boost manpower. Also wages will be hiked as an incentive to get migrant workers to come out of the shadows. International organisations and NGOs are also willing to sponsor the measures in a move to get the workers to register, which is believed to work out as a concrete solution to human trafficking. 
 

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