Thailand foots US$40 million in medical bills for migrants

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BANGKOK, Feb 4 – Thailand has spent over Bt1 billion giving medical treatment to migrant workers from neighbouring countries in the last three years, the deputy public health minister said today.

Cholanan Srikaew said figures compiled from state hospitals in 57 provinces in 2010-2012 showed the Public Health Ministry as bearing a cost of Bt1.19 billion (about US$40 million) for medical treatment to migrants from Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia.

Many very low income migrants could not afford the medical expenses while some left hospitals without paying after being treated, he said.

Health checkups for more than 8.5 million migrant workers who registered for employment in Thailand in 2011 found that they mainly suffered from tuberculosis, malaria, elephantiasis, leprosy, syphilis and drug addiction.

The minister said the Public Health Ministry has set up two committees to work out measures for health and medical treatment for migrant workers in Thailand.