TUESDAY, April 16, 2024
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Public Health Ministry flags off health riders to deliver meds to patients at home

Public Health Ministry flags off health riders to deliver meds to patients at home

After a successful test run over the past few months, volunteers or “health riders” will now be able to deliver medicines to patients at home.

Public Health Minister Cholnan Srikaew, who launched the service on Monday, said the health riders will initially serve 30-baht plus universal healthcare beneficiaries in 32 provinces.

The 30-baht plus healthcare scheme, in which Thai nationals only need to present their national ID to receive treatment anywhere, is only restricted to some provinces, though the Pubic Health Ministry plans to expand it nationwide soon. The service is not available in Bangkok yet.

The “health rider” service was launched during a ceremony marking the Day of Village Public Health Volunteers at Pua School in Nan’s Pua district.

Public Health Ministry flags off health riders to deliver meds to patients at home

Also present were Public Health permanent secretary Opas Karnkawinpong, Nan deputy governor Theva Panyaboon and some 2,600 village health volunteers.

At the ceremony, Cholnan handed out awards to outstanding health volunteers in the North of Thailand and in Health Areas 1, 2 and 3.

Health riders from all 15 districts of Nan province were also given new uniforms. Cholnan said the health riders fall under the telepharmacy services under the 30-baht plus scheme.

The health riders will deliver prescribed medicines to patients who are bed-ridden or find it difficult to go to hospitals or pharmacies, Cholnan said.

Public Health Ministry flags off health riders to deliver meds to patients at home

The minister added that a test run of the service was conducted in some provinces since December last year. In Nan, 14 hospitals have been using a network of 78 health riders to deliver medicines to patients within a 15-kilometre radius of hospitals.

From December to March 14, 2,796 orders have been fulfilled and this service has helped reduce queues for medicines in hospitals by 14% daily, Cholnan explained.

As of March 14, some 184 hospitals and public health clinics had fulfilled 44,174 prescriptions with a network of 1,414 health riders.

Public Health Ministry flags off health riders to deliver meds to patients at home

According to a Public Health Ministry survey, 99.2% of the patients said they were happy with the delivery time and up to 99.2% said they were glad they did not have to go to the hospital to fill their prescriptions.

Cholnan said health volunteers and other hospital personnel who want to be health riders can register for a “provider ID” under the 30-baht plus scheme. This, he said, will help volunteers earn extra funds.

The Public Health Ministry is also looking into using the services of private logistics firms, such as Global Jet Express, GRAB, Robinhood, Line Man, SCG Logistics, Kerry and Dawei as well as Thailand Post to deliver medicines, Cholnan added.

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