Health promotion and disease prevention (PP) policy has played a critical role in the Thai health care
system for a period of time. However, the implementations of such policies were still fragmented without
a clear strategic plan and goals. The development of PP policy focusing on certain age group in a systematic
manner was expected to help tackle those barriers. Children aged 0-5 group was selected as a pilot
group for the development of PP policy recommendations for relevant PP agencies in Thailand. Extensive
document reviews and deliberative process which involved the participation of stakeholders was employed
in the health problems prioritisation process. This article aimed to share experiences and findings
from the review and prioritisation process.
Child health related policy and law were completely available in Thailand and covered almost all
aspects of health determinants. Those policy and law were under responsible of varied agencies; however,
a well-coordinate initiative at a national level was not observed. According to the prioritisation process,
three health related problems that stakeholders expressed as high priority were problems related to carers,
child development, and antenatal care. The identified problems were also categorised according to
type of problems and responsible agencies. Problems related to physical and mental health were mostly
taken care by the National Health Security Office (NHSO), meanwhile problems concerning health and
well-beings were under other agencies, i.e. the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security and
the Thai Health Promotion Foundation.
Experiences from this study affirmed the importance of priority setting for policy development process.
Although most of the stakeholders of the priority setting process were from health sector, prioritised
problems were not solely focused on physical health. Proposed problems also included other societal
aspects as well as environmental factors that might affect well-beings, e.g. teenage pregnancy, quality of
child development centres, lack of parental knowledge of carers. In addition, the stakeholders also aware
of an importance of child development as this would affect quality of the population and their quality of
life in the future. Obviously, these social and well-being concerns have never been included in the benefit
package for health promotion and disease prevention under the NHSO. Challenges included identification
of effective interventions to tackle those prioritised problems in order to develop decent policy recommendations
for the NHSO and other responsible agencies.