Thailand has become well-known in Asia for its innovative public health programs and has also made significant strides towards improving oral health. The Thai approach to providing accessible healthcare for all its citizens could serve as a potential model for other countries throughout Southeast Asia. Based on a 3 week visit to shadow a practicing public health dentist, I was able to gain an insight into how their universal healthcare system functions – both its successes and challenges. Brief interactions with 20 patients who were receiving oral care helped put a face to the system and provided an additional perspective on the oral health issues facing people in rural areas. Problems specific to oral health included missing teeth, and severe caries – problems which were directly related to other serious health issues such as malnutrition. Observations showed that, despite limited resources, under-served populations have begun to receive the care they critically need. The efficient use of both finances and manpower to provide healthcare in even the remotest parts of the country could serve as an example to other communities facing similar healthcare challenges. Relevant background information on dentistry in Thailand as well as the specific oral health care issues I encountered will be presented in the poster.
Cooper, Arthur, "A Brief Visit to Chiang Mai: Oral Public Health in Action in Northern Thailand" (2015). College of Health Sciences Presentations. 16.