The situation of Thai traditional medicine in public health services, Suphanburi province.

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Pornphan Ravongpunt

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore the situation of Thai traditional medicine (TTM) services at government health-care facilities in Suphan Buri province. Quantitative data were collected from 184 TTM providers (one at each of all 184 health facilities), using a questionnaire for data on TTM administrative structure and personnel, integrated TTM services (massage, herbal steam bath, herbal compression, postpartum rejuvenation and herbal remedies), whereas qualitative data were collected using a focus group discussion with five directors of regional and community hospitals in the province. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and content analysis, and also validated using the triangular method. Results showed that all the state health-care facilities provided TTM services according to the provincial TTM service promotion and support policy. Regarding the service system readiness, all 10 regional/general/community hospitals in the province had already set up TTM Units, 4 of which reporting directly to the hospital directors. As for TTM personnel, there were 42 licensed TTM and applied TTM practitioners (including 28 applied TTM practitioners). At each hospital, the proportion of applied TTM practitioners was higher and the number of TTM personnel was less than the established staffing pattern. Most community hospitals provide all kinds of TTM services. For all such hospitals, there were 2,000 outpatient-visits on average per month and inpatient care was available at two hospitals (Somdejprasangkharach XVII and U-Thong). On average, they used 19 single herbal drugs and 20 herbal formulas. The top five commonly used herbal remedies also included turmeric and kariyat in line with the policy on using herbal remedies as first-line drugs. Concerning service integration, two approaches have been found: (1) the TTM or applied TTM practitioner working together with a modern medical doctor at the same outpatient department with patient-screening performed by a nurse and (2) providing treatment collaboratively but from different workplaces with the TTM or applied TTM practitioner undertaking patient-screening and providing treatment.  

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Pornphan Ravongpunt, N/A

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