The National Health Commission Office (NHCO) has approved a plan to promote childbirth and childrearing with cost-sharing and medical assistance measures. The aim is to address the issues of population decline and an ageing workforce.
According to Chanchao Chaiyanukij, an NHCO's representative, the plan’s policies will create a society supportive of family life, elevating relevant infrastructure such as early childhood and preschool development centres, as well as developing technologies to support child-related activities.
The ‘Promoting the Development of Population for Quality Birth and Growth’ plan was endorsed by the NHCO on 16 November. Chonlanan Srikaew, Minister of Public Health, explained its rationale, noting that the government has decided to make the low birthrate a national agenda in order to stop population decline and improve human resource development.
The plan includes various measures to promote childbirth with relevant organisations providing financial support and medical assistance.
Chonlanan pointed out that in 2022, the number of newborns in the country declined to 485,085, the lowest in 70 years. It was also the first time that Thailand recorded fewer than 500,000 births. Conversely, the number of elderly people is on the rise, with over 12 million elderly individuals in 2022. If trends continue, Thailand will face challenges in its labour force.
"The low birth rate and increasing proportion of the elderly will lead to a decline in productivity, production, income, and tax revenue. A significant decrease in the population will have a major impact on the country's economy as a whole," explained Chonlanan.
The Ministry of Public Health, acting as a coordinating organisation, will collaborate with other relevant agencies to develop documents in support of the agenda for Cabinet approval.