11 July 2024

The Thai cabinet set aside 50 billion baht today (Tuesday) to support the second phase of the program to produce 13,318 rural doctors within the next six years, to narrow the access gap to medical services between people in rural and urban areas.

Under this scheme, admissions are open to 12th grade graduates who live on marginal land or in rural areas, officials of the Public Health Permanent Secretary’s Office who have a bachelor’s degree in health sciences and students who complete their 12th grade education under the rural doctors program.

The cost to produce a medical doctor in six years is estimated at about 1.8 million baht, plus another two million baht for structural support.

According to the cabinet, the second phase of the program will emphasise the community-based development of curricula, to produce 13,318 physicians within the next six years, which will help realise the government’s ambitious plan to promote Thailand as a medical hub in the region.

This program is separate from the normal entrance examination for admission to state or private medical colleges.

For medical students under the “Collaborative Project to Increase Production of Rural Doctors” of the Public Health Ministry, students are required to study at the medical centre hospitals of each province for the 4th, 5th and 6th years, to work in those hospitals for one year, followed by two more years in community hospitals, to pay off their state-funded scholarships.