The three organizations include the Thailand Center of Excellence for Life Sciences (TCELS), Prachin Buri province, and the Chao Phraya Abhaibhubejhr Hospital. They signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on the development of the medicopolis on 26 May 2016.
According to a report by the World Health Organization, the number of older persons worldwide would reach more than 2,000 million by 2050. As for Thailand, the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board estimated that the number of older persons would reach 14.5 million, accounting for 20 percent of the population in 2025. Health promotion would play an increasingly important role in an aging society.
Director of TCELS Dr. Nares Damrongchai said that the use of herbal plants and folk wisdom in combination with medical technology would help reduce medical costs and dependence on imports of Western medicine. The signing of the MOU on the medicopolis will develop Prachin Buri into a health center to provide medical tourism for both Thais and foreigners.
TCELS has initiated the project to transform Thailand into a medicopolis. In Thailand, healthcare and medical facilities are of international standards. Medical tourism has become a prevalent business model and has given new wings to the Thai economy.
Located 136 kilometers from Bangkok, Prachin Buri has set a strategy to develop itself into a health tour destination for tourists who are interested in traditional and natural practices for a healthy life. It links with Cambodia through Sa Kaeo province and with Vietnam and Laos through Nakhon Ratchasima province.
Prachin Buri is the location of the Chao Phraya Abhaibhubejhr Hospital, which has developed medicinal plants for healing and treatment since 1983. The hospital also promotes the use of herbs for self-reliance in various local communities and has learned much from the wealth of local wisdom concerning the development of indigenous medicine.
The quality of Abhaibhubejhr herbal products has steadily risen to international standards and they are now earning recognition from the international community. The Chao Phraya Abhaibhubejhr Building, which is now a museum of traditional medicine, is a major place of interest in Prachin Buri and was registered as historical structure by the Fine Arts Department.
The Thai government is giving a major boost to the use of medicinal plants and traditional Thai medicine in medical treatment. It is also developing Thailand as a major source of medicinal plants in this part of the world.