Thailand is a vibrant and diverse country in Southeast Asia, bordering Myanmar, Vietnam and Laos to the north and Malaysia to the south.
Population estimate (2019): 69,277,440
Capital City: Bangkok
Currency used: Baht
Gross National Income per capita (2013) (PPP international $): 13,510
Time zone: + 7
Population growth rate (2019): 0.30%
Total fertility rate per woman: 1.52
Languages: The official and most widely used language is Thai. English is usually understood and spoken.
Key ethnic groups: Approximately 75% are ethnically Thai, 14% Thai Chinese, 3% Malay, and the remainder belong to various minority groups.
Religion: 95% Buddhist, the remaining 5% are largely Muslim or Christian.
Climate: Thailand has a hot, tropical climate with two distinct seasons; a dry period in winter and a rainy and humid period in summer. Average temperatures range from 22 to 27ºc all year round. The hottest period is from March to May with temperatures around 30ºc.
Life expectancy at birth (2016): 72/79 (male/female)
Probability of dying between 15 and 60 years: 203/91 (per 1000 population, 2016)
Total expenditure on health per capita (2014): $600
Number of doctors per 1000 population (2015): 0.47
Nursing and midwifery personnel density (per 1000 population, 2015): 2.294
Neonatal mortality rate (per 1000 live births, 2016): 7.3 [3.9-12.6]
Maternal mortality ratio (per 100.000 live births, 2015): 20 [14-32]
Births attended by skilled health personnel (2012): 99.6%
Top 10 causes of death:
Coronary heart disease: 63,151 people / 12.61% of total
Influenza & pneumonia: 60,321 / 12.04%
Stroke: 55,319 / 11.04%
Kidney disease: 29,130 / 5.82%
Diabetes mellitus: 25,929 / 5.18%
Lung disease: 22,808 / 4.55%
Road traffic accidents: 21,539 / 4.30%
Liver cancer: 20,565 / 4.11%
Lung cancers: 20,003 / 3.99%
Alzheimers/Dementia: 19,125 / 3.82%
The healthcare system in Thailand comprises public, private and non-profit sectors. Public healthcare is free (although not on Saturdays, where patients are charged) for citizens who have a Universal Coverage Health Card. These cards can be obtained from the National Health Security Office. Through the country’s Universal Coverage Scheme, the majority of the population receives free outpatient, inpatient and emergency care. Public facilities offer a high standard of medical services, however, they are often overcrowded, which results in long waiting times. There are 927 public hospitals and 9,768 public health centres in the country, while the private sector contributes with 363 hospitals and 25,615 private clinics.
The Private sector is booming in Thailand, and the country is a leading destination for medical tourism in Asia. Private healthcare facilities in the country are renowned for their excellent services and staff. Various non-profit organisations also operate in Thailand, aiding the most disadvantaged citizens.
Most physicians in Thailand are specialists and even employed at several hospitals simultaneously. For this reason they usually work very long hours and have to change hospital location several times a day.