Perhaps the most important takeaway for Rotarians and friend attending the 30th March meeting of the Rotary Club of Royal Hua Hin (RCRHH), was “the best Covid-19 vaccination for you is the one that is available.”
That was the message from guest Nicolas Leloup, Assistant Director of International Marketing from the Samitivej Hospital in Bangkok. Nicholas is also a Rotarian from the Bangkok South Rotary Club.
He says concerns about the reporting of differing efficacy rates for the approved vaccinations in Thailand may lead to false impressions; particularly when trials have occurred in differing circumstances when different strains of the coronavirus had emerged. Vaccine efficacy only provides information about how well a vaccine works under the conditions of the clinical trial.
Of more importance is the health outcomes after vaccination. Nicolas says vaccinations approved in Thailand all have a 100% efficacy of preventing hospital admissions or even death. That’s why it’s not about the choosing between the vaccine types, it’s about choosing to be vaccinated as soon as possible; although for most that’s unlikely be before July.
Nicolas presented an insightful overview of the development and recognition of Thailand’s health care systems and expertise.
A significant ‘boost’ to Thailand becoming a medical tourism destination were the terrorist attacks against the United States on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001. In the aftermath, middle east residents seeking quality healthcare were typically unable to access that in the US, with many choosing Thailand as the best alternative.
However not unlike the hospitality sector, health tourism in Thailand has also been severally impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, with figures showing a deficit of around 15% of patient numbers but an income deficit of more like 30%. That has been because overseas patients, particularly those seeking surgery, have been unable to travel.
An emerging trend in healthcare, sharing a similarity with ‘virtual’ business conferences and the like, is ‘virtual medical consultation’. Nichols says the Samitivej virtual hospital model was launched pre-covid in March 2019.
With travel restrictions and concerns about infection transmissions, this model continues to be recognised as a more efficient way for patients to receive advice and diagnosis when the time consuming and sometimes unnecessary house call or visit to the hospital can be avoided.
The 24 hour availability of ‘telemedicine’, an online link-up in real-time between the patient and hospital doctors as a ‘virtual hospital’ consultation, can save both time and expense; a trend that is likely to become the ‘new normal’ in healthcare.
Nicolas was joined at the Rotary meeting by long-time friend of the RCRHH, Irene Sangkhanond, now the Samitivej Hospital’s International Coordinator of Business Development.
Irene is known for her tireless assistance in the medical care of patients in Hua Hin and can be contacted via [email protected]
This was an opportunity for Rotarians and friends to learn more about where healthcare in Thailand from those in the frontline of the of the issues involved.
Monthly lunch meetings of the RCRHH are open to Rotarians and friends at the Amari Hua Hin Resort from 12 noon.