The WHO has praised Thailand again for its ongoing efforts in the fight against Covid-19. According to the WHO – Thailand is in the top 3 countries globally in the fight against Covid-19, according to a Thailand government spokesman. The WHO has been lauding Thailand for its efforts to contain the virus since early 2020. Thailand could be a role model for other countries according to government spokesperson Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana.
WHO Experts and Thailand’s WHO Team
Thailand’s efficiency in dealing with the Covid-19 virus and the pandemic, in general, is due to the efforts of WHO experts and Thailand’s WHO team. Thailand has been flexible with managing the pandemic situation as well as practical measures ensuring vaccinations for the population, adequate quarantine, and good hospital care.
Key elements included the support of senior political executives in the government and the strengthening of Thailand s public health system. This, along with the cooperation of public and private sectors, the education and willingness of the population and community to follow the guidelines has helped Thailand weather the crisis.
Using digital technologies has ensured accurate tracking and management of the situation from individual cases to the population as a whole. This has enabled accurate and timely decisions to be made that benefit the economy and the population.
Cooperation from all sectors was the Key
“The Prime Minister insisted that this was not the only achievement of the government but of all sectors and most importantly it was a result of receiving cooperation from all Thai people. However, the Prime Minister asked everyone to remain cautious and strictly follow the Covid-19 measures for Thailand to return to a normal situation as soon as possible,” Thanakorn concluded.
Cooperation has been very good inside Thailand. Everyone has been happy to wear a mask, to sign or scan a QR code when entering shopping centers. Maintaining social distancing has been a standard practice for two years now. Thailand has led the way in following these guidelines and it shows in the declining numbers of Covid-19.
The Unsung Heroes
The Ministry of Public Health manages 1.04 million village health volunteers across the country, including 15,000 volunteers in Bangkok. Each volunteer receives 1,000 Thai baht (about US$ 32) per month and has received an extra 500 baht incentive during the COVID-19 outbreak. 
This army of volunteers has been in place for almost four decades, helping to protect the kingdom against all manner of diseases. Now they are working against Covid-19. They played a key role in Thailand’s health care since the 1980s. By performing health surveys, collecting data, maintaining records, and assisting in disease prevention campaigns with public health officials. During outbreaks, their records of medical histories of their communities are essential for assisting with contact tracing and health monitoring.
From emptying containers of still water, to prevent the spread of mosquitoes, to giving rabies vaccines to cattle and pets the army of volunteers is an integral part of Thailand’s defense against any disease.
The focus has always been on education and information, so the population can understand the reasons behind the practices against disease. This has served them very well in the fight against Covid-19. The volunteers have been knocking on doors to advise on best practices for Covid-19, while handing out masks and alcohol-based gel and health fliers.
These volunteers have visited millions of households looking for potential cases and focusing on people suspected to be at risk of infection. They are indeed the unsung heroes in Thailand’s fight against Covid-19.
Another arrow in the Quiver – FETP – Field Epidemiology Program
Thailand has been improving its public health care system for decades, as early as 1970 an epidemiology unit was established in Bangkok.
The WHO began promoting the use of data to assist in disease control efforts.
This approach was recognized as important by Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health and sent staff abroad for university-level epidemiology training.
Then with the support of the US CDC and the WHO Thailand established the FETP (Field Epidemiology Program) in 1980.
Over 250 professionals have been trained since its inception with 178 still working within the system in various provinces, and or in health organizations in Southeast Asia.
When there’s a disease outbreak or when health-related threats emerge, epidemiologists are often one of the first people on the scene to investigate.
Also, known as “Disease Detectives” or “nak rabaad witayaa”in Thai, these experts — most often physicians, veterinarians, scientists or health-related professionals trained to locate the source and root cause of disease, identifying people at risk, and determining how to control or stop its spread — are an indispensable part of the epidemiological equation. 
Working in Harmony
These government agencies and volunteers along with willing cooperation from the population have enabled Thailand’s success to date, in the fight against Covid-19. Wearing a mask here is not seen as a hardship and the majority of people, even today, are still wearing a mask, and still scanning a QR code when they enter a facility or leave their name on a list, as required.
Thailand has utilized everything it can in the fight against the Covid-19 virus. They are slowly opening up the country and the various attractions and venues catering to tourism. Calls for the bars and nightlife have so far gone unanswered, but these calls are becoming louder with each passing day.
The tourists are gradually returning and now is a great time to be in Thailand. Everything is still here, but without the multitudes of tourists that used to be commonplace.
There are calls to remove completely the Thailand Pass system that is used for entry. Personally, I do not believe the government will scrap this any time soon as it is too convenient for them in answering the Insurance question posed by all tourists, but time will tell.
The Thai government is working to declare COVID-19 an endemic disease. Deputy Public Health Minister Satit Pitutacha said the nation is capable of achieving such a goal, despite concerns over new variants expressed by the World Health Organization (WHO).
At the annual meeting of the Private Hospital Association, the deputy health minister said the numbers of COVID infections and deaths are now stable, as the Omicron variant causes less severe symptoms than other strains.
Thailand aims to declare COVID-19 endemic in July.
The WHO is reluctant to designate COVID-19 as endemic because there are new variants to consider. Satit noted, however, that capable countries can make such decisions when they are ready, especially Thailand which has been praised as a role model for COVID control.
WHO – Thailand in the top 3 countries fighting against Covid-19
Thailand has been improving its health care system for decades and the Ministry of Public Health has done well with its army of volunteers and the Field Epidemiology Program. The WHO recognizes the efforts of the Ministry, the government, and the Thai population in bringing the pandemic under control.
Whether Covid-19 is finished with the world, Thailand has been a good place to weather the pandemic.
Thailand is open for business and if you are thinking of visiting now is a good time to be here.
Yes, you still need to go through the Thailand Pass system to gain entry to the Kingdom, but they are constantly seeking to improve the system. Thailand knows that tourists are a vital part of the economy and everything is being done to welcome them again.
- Thailand’s 1 million village health volunteers – “unsung heroes” – are helping guard communities nationwide from COVID-19, https://www.who.int/thailand/news/feature-stories/detail/thailands-1-million-village-health-volunteers-unsung-heroes-are-helping-guard-communities-nationwide-from-covid-19
- Heroes without Capes, https://www.who.int/thailand/news/feature-stories/detail/heroes-without-capes