Like other countries in the Western Pacific region, Thailand is facing increasing numbers of patients with diabetes due to unhealthy diets, high obesity rates, and an aging society. Diabetes is a considerable burden for developing countries as it reduces quality of life, increases mortality, and drives up healthcare costs. The disease detection rate in Thailand has improved in recent years, but glycemic control remains suboptimal and significant numbers of patients suffer from complications. Universal healthcare coverage has increased access to care, but inequality exists between different health plans and non-medication diabetes supplies are not yet widely covered. Diabetes self-management education has not yet been standardized and a multidisciplinary team approach is not widely utilized. The Thai government recognizes the burden of diabetes and has launched nationwide programs of health promotion and disease prevention. In addition, local initiatives have targeted reductions in specific complications, including retinopathy and diabetic foot problems, which has resulted in better disease prevention and treatment. Along with strategic public health planning, increased collaboration between private and public sectors, enhanced professional training, increased use of technology and data management, and equitable distribution of care are all needed to improve outcomes of patients with diabetes in Thailand.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance
The World Bank. Thailand. http://data.worldbank.org/country/thailand. Last updated 2015. Accessed 8-18-2015.
Porapakkham Y, Rao C, Pattaraarchachai J, Polprasert W, Vos T, Adair T. Estimated causes of death in Thailand, 2005: implications for health policy. Popul Health Metr. 2010;8:14.
Deerochanawong C, Ferrario A. Diabetes management in Thailand: a literature review of the burden, costs, and outcomes. Global Health. 2013;9:11. A recent comprehensive review of diabetes status in Thailand.
Aekplakorn W, Stolk RP, Neal B, Suriyawongpaisal P, Chongsuvivatwong V, Cheepudomwit S, et al. The prevalence and management of diabetes in Thai adults: the international collaborative study of cardiovascular disease in Asia. Diabetes Care. 2003;26(10):2758–63.
Aekplakorn W, Abbott-Klafter J, Premgamone A, Dhanamun B, Chaikittiporn C, Chongsuvivatwong V, et al. Prevalence and management of diabetes and associated risk factors by regions of Thailand: Third National Health Examination Survey 2004. Diabetes Care. 2007;30(8):2007–12.
Aekplakorn W, Chariyalertsak S, Kessomboon P, Sangthong R, Inthawong R, Putwatana P, et al. Prevalence and management of diabetes and metabolic risk factors in Thai adults: the Thai National Health Examination Survey IV, 2009. Diabetes Care. 2011;34(9):1980–5. The most recent National Health Examination Survey results on diabetes status in Thailand, 2009.
Likitmaskul S, Wacharasindhu S, Rawdaree P, Ngarmukos C, Deerochanawong C, Suwanwalaikorn S, et al. Thailand diabetes registry project: type of diabetes, glycemic control and prevalence of microvascular complications in children and adolescents with diabetes. J Med Assoc Thai. 2006;89 Suppl 1:S10–6.
Rawdaree P, Ngarmukos C, Deerochanawong C, Suwanwalaikorn S, Chetthakul T, Krittiyawong S, et al. Thailand diabetes registry (TDR) project: clinical status and long term vascular complications in diabetic patients. J Med Assoc Thai. 2006;89 Suppl 1:S1–9. One of the larger diabetes registry conducted in 11 university medical centers.
Nitiyanant W, Chetthakul T, Sang A, Therakiatkumjorn C, Kunsuikmengrai K, Yeo JP. A survey study on diabetes management and complication status in primary care setting in Thailand. J Med Assoc Thai. 2007;90(1):65–71.
Likitmaskul S, Kiattisathavee P, Chaichanwatanakul K, Punnakanta L, Angsusingha K, Tuchinda C. Increasing prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus in Thai children and adolescents associated with increasing prevalence of obesity. J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2003;16(1):71–7.
Jiamjarasrangsi W, Aekplakorn W. Incidence and predictors of type 2 diabetes among professional and office workers in Bangkok, Thailand. J Med Assoc Thai. 2005;88(12):1896–904.
Aekplakorn W, Bunnag P, Woodward M, Sritara P, Cheepudomwit S, Yamwong S, et al. A risk score for predicting incident diabetes in the Thai population. Diabetes Care. 2006;29(8):1872–7.
Jiamjarasrangsi W, Lohsoonthorn V, Lertmaharit S, Sangwatanaroj S. Incidence and predictors of abnormal fasting plasma glucose among the university hospital employees in Thailand. Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2008;79(2):343–9.
Tuchinda C, Angsusingha K, Chaichanwalanakul K, Likitmaskul S, Vannasaeng S. The epidemiology of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM): report from Thailand. J Med Assoc Thai. 1992;75(4):217–22.
Panamonta O, Laopaiboon M, Tuchinda C. Incidence of childhood type 1 (insulin dependent) diabetes mellitus in northeastern Thailand. J Med Assoc Thai. 2000;83(8):821–4.
Panamonta O, Thamjaroen J, Panamonta M, Panamonta N, Suesirisawat C. The rising incidence of type 1 diabetes in the northeastern part of Thailand. J Med Assoc Thai. 2011;94(12):1447–50.
Tuchinda C, Likitmaskul S, Unachak K, Panamonta O, Patarakijavanich N, Chetthakul T. The epidemiology of type 1 diabetes in Thai children. J Med Assoc Thai. 2002;85(6):648–52.
Lawrence JM, Imperatore G, Dabelea D, Mayer-Davis EJ, Linder B, Saydah S, et al. Trends in incidence of type 1 diabetes among non-Hispanic white youth in the U.S., 2002–2009. Diabetes. 2014;63(11):3938–45.
Harjutsalo V, Sjoberg L, Tuomilehto J. Time trends in the incidence of type 1 diabetes in Finnish children: a cohort study. Lancet. 2008;371(9626):1777–82.
Kosachunhanun N, Benjasuratwong Y, Mongkolsomlit S, Rawdaree P, Plengvidhya N, Leelawatana R, et al. Thailand diabetes registry project: glycemic control in Thai type 2 diabetes and its relation to hypoglycemic agent usage. J Med Assoc Thai. 2006;89 Suppl 1:S66–71.
Chuang LM, Tsai ST, Huang BY, Tai TY. The status of diabetes control in Asia—a cross-sectional survey of 24 317 patients with diabetes mellitus in 1998. Diabet Med. 2002;19(12):978–85.
National Health Security Office T. Clinical care results for type 2 diabetes and hypertension from the Ministry of Public Health hospitals and Bangkok health centers 2014 https://thaimedresnet.org/. Last updated 2014. Accessed 8/15/2014. Recent outcome data on key performance indices of diabetes care for over 30,000 patients, collected by the National Health Security Office.
Trepatchayakorn S, Supornsilchai V, Wacharasindhu S, Aroonparkmongkol S, Sahakitrungruang T. Trends and characteristics of childhood diabetes in a tertiary care center in Thailand. Asian Biomedicine. 2014;8(6):707–15. Recent data on childhood diabetes status in a large university hospital.
Santiprabhob J, Weerakulwattana P, Nunloi S, Kiattisakthavee P, Wongarn R, Wekawanich J, et al. Etiology and glycemic control among Thai children and adolescents with diabetes mellitus. J Med Assoc Thai. 2007;90(8):1608–15.
Chetthakul T, Likitmaskul S, Plengvidhya N, Suwanwalaikorn S, Kosachunhanun N, Deerochanawong C, et al. Thailand diabetes registry project: prevalence of diabetic retinopathy and associated factors in type 1 diabetes mellitus. J Med Assoc Thai. 2006;89 Suppl 1:S17–26.
Bunnag P, Plengvidhya N, Deerochanawong C, Suwanwalaikorn S, Kosachunhanun N, Benjasuratwong Y, et al. Thailand diabetes registry project: prevalence of hypertension, treatment and control of blood pressure in hypertensive adults with type 2 diabetes. J Med Assoc Thai. 2006;89 Suppl 1:S72–7.
Pratipanawatr T, Rawdaree P, Chetthakul T, Bunnag P, Ngarmukos C, Benjasuratwong Y, et al. Thailand diabetes registry project: current status of dyslipidemia in Thai diabetic patients. J Med Assoc Thai. 2006;89 Suppl 1:S60–5.
Sriwijitkamol A, Moungngern Y, Vannaseang S. Assessment and prevalences of diabetic complications in 722 Thai type 2 diabetes patients. J Med Assoc Thai. 2011;94 Suppl 1:S168–74.
Kosachunhanun N, Tongprasert S, Rerkasem K. Diabetic foot problems in tertiary care diabetic clinic in Thailand. Int J Low Extrem Wounds. 2012;11(2):124–7.
Potisat S, Krairittichai U, Jongsareejit A, Sattaputh C, Arunratanachote W. A 4-year prospective study on long-term complications of type 2 diabetic patients: the Thai DMS diabetes complications (DD.Comp.) project. J Med Assoc Thai. 2013;96(6):637–43.
Krittiyawong S, Ngarmukos C, Benjasuratwong Y, Rawdaree P, Leelawatana R, Kosachunhanun N, et al. Thailand diabetes registry project: prevalence and risk factors associated with lower extremity amputation in Thai diabetics. J Med Assoc Thai. 2006;89 Suppl 1:S43–8.
Riewpaiboon A, Chatterjee S, Riewpaiboon W, Piyauthakit P. Disability and cost for diabetic patients at a public district hospital in Thailand. Int J Pharm Pract. 2011;19(2):84–93.
Chaikledkaew U, Pongchareonsuk P, Chaiyakunapruk N, Ongphiphadhanakul B. Factors affecting health-care costs and hospitalizations among diabetic patients in Thai public hospitals. Value Health. 2008;11 Suppl 1:S69–74.
Goldhaber-Fiebert JD, Li H, Ratanawijitrasin S, Vidyasagar S, Wang XY, Aljunid S, et al. Inpatient treatment of diabetic patients in Asia: evidence from India, China, Thailand and Malaysia. Diabet Med. 2010;27(1):101–8.
Chatterjee S, Riewpaiboon A, Piyauthakit P, Riewpaiboon W, Boupaijit K, Panpuwong N, et al. Cost of diabetes and its complications in Thailand: a complete picture of economic burden. Health Soc Care Community. 2011;19(3):289–98. A comprehensive calculation of direct and indirect care cost for diabetes patients.
National Health Security Office. NHSO annnual report fiscal year 2013. http://www.nhso.go.th. Last updated 2015. Accessed 9-14-2015.
Faculty of Medicine Ramathibodi Hospital. Drug list, Faculty of Medicine Ramathibodi Hospital 2014. Published 2014.
Deebukkham P, Thavorncharoensap M, Kingkaew P, Teerawattananon Y. Cost-utility analysis of Self-monitoring blood glucose in diabetes mellitus type 1 and 2 who use insulin in Thailand. http://www.hitap.net/en/research/17715. Last updated 2-26-2012. Accessed 10-6-2015.
World Diabetes Foundation. Mobile eye care WDF08-395. http://www.worlddiabetesfoundation.org/projects/thailand-wdf08-395. Last updated 2012. Accessed 10-6-2015.
Thai Diabetes Society. Delivery of the best care for type 1 diabetes in the auspicious celebration of His Majesty The King’s 7th Cycle Birthday Anniversary, the 5th of December 2011. Bangkok: Srimaung Publishing; 2014.
World Diabetes Foundation. Foot care and footwear training WDF12-674. http://www.worlddiabetesfoundation.org/projects/thailand-wdf12-674. Last updated 2015. Accessed 10-6-2015. The first effort to improve foot care in Thailand through providing better care and educating health professionals, funded by the World Diabetes Foundation.
National Health Security Office. Clinical care results for type 2 diabetes and hypertension from the Ministry of Public Health hospitals and Bangkok health centers 2015. https://thaimedresnet.org/. Last updated 2015. Accessed 10-6-2015.
Tantayotai V, Numsangkul S, Tinnaluck Y. Moving knowledge spiral toward a community-based lifestyle intervention program for people with prediabetes. World Diabetes Congress. 12-3-2013. The first Thai Diabetes Prevention Program, conducted with the funding from the International Diabetes Federation.
Galbally R, Fidler A, Chowdhuty M, Tang KC, Good S, Tantivess S. Ten year review of Thai Health Promotion Foundation, Nov 2001-Nov 2011. http://en.thaihealth.or.th/. Last updated 2012. Accessed 10-6-2015
Ministry of Public Health. Thailand healthy lifestyle strategic plan (2011–2020). http://bps2.moph.go.th/content/thailand-healthy-lifestyle-strategic-plan-be-2554-2563-2011-2020. Last updated 2011. Accessed 9-30-2015. Lifestyle strategic plan specifically targeting non-communicable diseases, spanning 10 years, developed by the Ministry of Public Health in parallel with the 11th National Health Development Plan.
Satheannoppakao W, Aekplakorn W, Pradipasen M. Fruit and vegetable consumption and its recommended intake associated with sociodemographic factors: Thailand National Health Examination Survey III. Public Health Nutr. 2009;12(11):2192–8.
Steering Committee on Formulation of 11th National Health Development Plan 2012–2016, Ministry of Public Health. The 11th National Health Development Plan under the National Economic and Social Development Plan (2012–2016). Published 10-2012.
Aekplakorn W, Inthawong R, Kessomboon P, Sangthong R, Chariyalertsak S, Putwatana P, et al. Prevalence and trends of obesity and association with socioeconomic status in Thai adults: National Health Examination Surveys, 1991–2009. J Obes. 2014;2014:410259.
Department of Medical Services, Ministry of Public Health. Thailand Medical Services Profile 2011–2014. http://www.dms.moph.go.th/ last updated 9-30-2014. Accessed 10-5-2015.
Thailand Development Research Institute. Health outcomes and healthcare equality. http://tdri.or.th/ updated 12-2014. Accessed 10-5-2015. Recent publication demonstrating care inequality among health care scheme.
Ministry of Public Health. Strategies, key performance indices and data collection, fiscal year 2015. Last updated 2014. Accessed 10-6-2015
Chetthakul T, Likitmaskul S, Plengvidhya N, Suwanwalaikorn S, Kosachunhanun N, Deerochanawong C et al. Thailand diabetes registry project: prevalence of diabetic retinopathy and associated factors in type 1 diabetes mellitus. J Med Assoc Thai. 2006; 89 Suppl 1: S17-S26. Data on glycemic control and complications among type 1 diabetes patients.
Jongsareejit A, Potisat S, Krairittichai U, Sattaputh C, Arunratanachote W. The Thai DMS Diabetes Complications (DD.Comp.) project: prevalence and risk factors of diabetic retinopathy in Thai patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. J Med Assoc Thai. 2013;96(11):1476–82.
Krairittichai U, Potisat S, Jongsareejit A, Sattaputh C. Prevalence and risk factors of diabetic nephropathy among Thai patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. J Med Assoc Thai. 2011;94 Suppl 2:S1–5.
Mayurasakorn K, Somthip N, Caengow S, Chulkarat N, Wanichsuwan M. Glycemic control and microvascular complications among type 2 diabetes at primary care units. J Med Assoc Thai. 2009;92(8):1094–101.
Phoksunthorn T, Thatsnarong D. Retinopathy and macro-albuminuria in type 2 diabetic patients. J Med Assoc Thai. 2007;90(4):684–7.
Supapluksakul S, Ruamviboonsuk P, Chaowakul W. The prevalence of diabetic retinopathy in Trang Province determined by retinal photography and comprehensive eye examination. J Med Assoc Thai. 2008;91(5):716–22.
Silpa-Archa S, Sukhawarn R. Prevalence and associated factors of diabetic retinopathy in Chandrubeksa Hospital, Directorate of Medical Services, Royal Thai Air Force. J Med Assoc Thai. 2012;95 Suppl 4:S43–9.
Jenchitr W, Samaiporn S, Lertmeemongkolchai P, Chongwiriyanurak T, Anujaree P, Chayaboon D. Prevalence of diabetic retinopathy in relation to duration of diabetes mellitus in community hospitals of Lampang. J Med Assoc Thai. 2004;87(11):1321–6.
Narenpitak S, Narenpitak A. Prevalence of chronic kidney disease in type 2 diabetes in primary health care unit of Udon Thani Province, Thailand. J Med Assoc Thai. 2008;91(10):1505–13.
Conflict of Interest
Sirimon Reutrakul reports grants from Merck and personal fees from Sanofi and Medtronic. Chaicharn Deerochanawong declares that he has no conflict of interest.
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
This article is part of the Topical Collection on Economics and Policy in Diabetes
About this article
Cite this article
Reutrakul, S., Deerochanawong, C. Diabetes in Thailand: Status and Policy. Curr Diab Rep 16, 28 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11892-016-0725-7
- Glycemic control
- Healthcare cost