In Thailand, $3 a Month Could Boost Migrant Health
Among the estimated 1 million migrants living in Thailand along the remote Thai-Burmese border, threats to health abound.
Infectious diseases such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, tuberculosis, diarrheal conditions and dengue fever run rampant. Migrants often suffer serious injuries in accidents while working on construction sites, factories and farms. Also common are pregnancy and childbirth complications, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases such as high blood pressure and asthma, metabolic diseases such as diabetes, and digestive diseases such as gastritis and ulcers.
Compounding the problem is the fact that most migrants in the impoverished area are shut out of health insurance – and, as a result, essential health care.
“They’re largely a forgotten and marginalized population when it comes to health care,” says Nicolas Durier, MD, MPH.
To bring better health—and dignity—to a transient group trapped in the gaps between 2 health care systems along a porous border, the French-born, Thai-based physician has founded a nonprofit that aims to build health care access by providing low-cost insurance. Called Dreamlopments—a name that merges “dream” and “developments”—the Bangkok-based group will offer much-needed preventive screening and other services in partnership with a network of public and private health care providers on both sides of the border.
- Health Care