Analysis of health promotion and prevention financing mechanisms in Thailand

Health Promot Int. 2017 Aug 1;32(4):702-710. doi: 10.1093/heapro/daw010.


In the transition to the post-2015 agenda, many countries are striving towards universal health coverage (UHC). Achieving this, governments need to shift from curative care to promotion and prevention services. This research analyses Thailand's financing system for health promotion and prevention, and assesses policy options for health financing reforms. The study employed a mixed-methods approach and integrates multiple sources of evidence, including scientific and grey literature, expenditure data, and semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders in Thailand. The analysis was underpinned by the use of a well-known health financing framework. In Thailand, three agencies plus local governments share major funding roles for health promotion and prevention services: the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH), the National Health Security Office, the Thai Health Promotion Foundation and Tambon Health Insurance Funds. The total expenditure on prevention and public health in 2010 was 10.8% of the total health expenditure, greater than many middle-income countries that average 7.0-9.2%. MOPH was the largest contributor at 32.9%, the Universal Coverage scheme was the second at 23.1%, followed by the local governments and ThaiHealth at 22.8 and 7.3%, respectively. Thailand's health financing system for promotion and prevention is strategic and innovative due to the three complementary mechanisms in operation. There are several methodological limitations to determine the adequate level of spending. The health financing reforms in Thailand could usefully inform policymakers on ways to increase spending on promotion and prevention. Further comparative policy research is needed to generate evidence to support efforts towards UHC.

Keywords: economic analysis; evaluating health promotion; health policy analysis; population health; sustainable development.

MeSH terms

  • Financing, Government / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Policy
  • Health Promotion / economics*
  • Healthcare Financing*
  • Humans
  • Public Health / economics*
  • Thailand
  • Universal Health Insurance / economics