PD First Policy: Thailand's Response to the Challenge of Meeting the Needs of Patients With End-Stage Renal Disease

Semin Nephrol. 2017 May;37(3):287-295. doi: 10.1016/j.semnephrol.2017.02.008.


Providing dialysis for end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) patients nationwide in a developing country such as Thailand is challenging. Even after roll-out of the Thai Universal Coverage Scheme in 2002, treatment for ESKD was not covered and patients struggled to afford dialysis. There was an urgent need to improve financial risk protection for patients with ESKD. Advocacy by nephrologists, health economists, and civil society seeking equity in access to dialysis, and responsiveness from policy makers, led to the methodical development of the Peritoneal Dialysis (PD) First policy and marked a turning point in ESKD care in Thailand. Despite the obvious economic concerns and the prevailing popularity of hemodialysis the policy has been strategically and successfully implemented since 2008. The Thai PD First policy has saved the lives of nearly 50,000 ESKD patients being dialyzed under the universal coverage scheme. Despite ongoing challenges the program continues to evolve. This article summarizes the key strategies underlying the policy development and implementation, the integration of home-based dialysis into the well-established Thai health care system, the use of the Chronic Care Model concept in PD care, and the impact of choosing PD as the first choice of dialysis therapy, which has slowed the growth of dialysis costs.

Keywords: Chronic Care Model; PD First policy; Peritoneal dialysis; universal health care coverage.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Health Policy*
  • Health Services Needs and Demand / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / epidemiology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy*
  • Peritoneal Dialysis / standards*
  • Thailand / epidemiology