In order to ensure people living in crowded communities and housing estates have better access to healthcare and disease prevention, the Department of Disease Control (DDC) is planning to implement a HEZ (Health Enhancing Zone) with “uVilleCare”, a high-tech health-monitoring system, DDC’s deputy chief Dr Preecha Prempree said.
The system, which will benefit some 8 million people, will be launched in December as a New Year’s gift to the Thai public, he said.
Houses in each HEZ will be turned into “healthy homes” using the “uVilleCare” technology, which will monitor at-risk people’s blood pressure, blood sugar levels and other diseases. It will also alert medical personnel in case of emergency, so in-need patients can get timely aid.
Of the 8 million people targeted, 3 million suffer from chronic diseases. Once “uVilleCare” has been successfully implemented, it will help Thailand save Bt5.9 billion in medical costs.
In the first phase, the project will benefit 4 million people living in housing estates nationwide, many of whom are stay-at-home seniors who lack systematic care, he said.
The aim of setting up HEZs is to fill the gap where no public health volunteers are available to offer primary care to the needy living in crowded communities, housing estates, condominiums and government housing projects in urban areas.
The project aims to create a disease prevention and control system with the participation of residents.
Dr Preecha noted that, as of 2018, Thailand had 37 million people – or 50.05 per cent of the population – living in municipality areas.
Due to this, habitat patterns have also shifted with big cities like Bangkok having more and more vertical communities, while the number of housing estates in other provinces rose five-fold in the past five years, he said.
However, the fast-growing number of housing estates has started having an impact on the healthcare system because nearly 60 per cent of elderly people living there lack systemic care. They are, therefore, at risk of developing ailments, having medical emergencies, suffering from non-communicable diseases or dying from accidents.
A third of all the deaths by accident stem from mishaps at home such as fires or falling from a height, he said. Three out of four stroke cases also take place at home, he added.
Preecha made these comments in his opening speech for a Bangkok seminar on November 8 for the development of cooperation network and work integration to tackle disease and health threats.