Initiative: Intelligent and Sustainable in Public Health Emergency System in Thailand
Institution: Department of Disease Control
Problem: Thailand has confronted emerging diseases and natural disasters over the past decade that have affected public health, society, and the economy. In 2015, there were Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) outbreaks in more than 20 countries, including Thailand, with more than 1,200 deaths. In 2011, a tsunami in Thailand caused approximately 5,400 deaths and 8,000 injuries and left more than 1,400 children as orphans. In 1980-2014, the Communicable Disease Act (CDA) was established for rising public health as a national issue. The act led to the establishment of the Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) which was inspired by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Solution: The program aimed to enhance epidemiologists’ expertise in dealing with emergency and health threats. Then, the program imparted the knowledge to health staff and volunteers resulting in establishing a 1030 Surveillance Rapid Response Team (SRRT). Therefore, the Department of Disease Control (DDC) was able to handle public health emergencies timely and conducted a more effective plan to mitigate risk. In 2015, there were various emerging diseases from globalization, such as SARS, Avian Influenza, DDC revised the act to CDA 2015. The act led to the establishment of the National-Centers for Disease Control (NCDC), Provincial- CDCs (PCDCs), and Communicable Disease Control Unit (CDCU) which monitor the local SRRT and report back to DDC for responding rapidly. The CDCU is an operation that consists of the Situation Awareness Team (SAT) and Joint Investigate Team (JIT). In 2015, DDC developed an Emergency Operation Center (EOC). The EOC is a central command and control facility responsible for carrying out emergency preparedness and emergency response. Thailand’s EOC was the first country outside of China to detect cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Assessment of DDC’s experience implementing a successful operational model will help identify the factors and achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Impact: The system focuses on 5 target groups: 1) Risk groups, including the elderly, patients with congenital disease, children, pregnant women, and patients with immune deficiency. They have received disease surveillance services, screening, and access to rapid treatment; 2) Vulnerable groups (the elderly people, pregnant women, people with chronic disease) have been served with efficient innovation to prevent infection during the epidemic. For example, more than 4,659,191 people traveling were screened by Thermo-scan at airports. Similarly, diagnosis, treatment, and referral systems for both public and private hospitals; 3) front-line professionals working for ICS operating teams consist of personals acting according to the incident command system, the SRRT team, and the personnel in the EOC center concerned to receive essential care; 4) citizens who are suffered from health hazard were able to receive health care and subsidies by DDC. For example, state quarantine is available in international border areas as a collaborative effort of public and private sectors to streamline the screening process; 5) Government agencies collaborated with organizations to gain knowledge and opportunities to work with the CDC.