Press "Enter" to skip to content

Controversy Over Health Volunteers Age Limit Bill in Thailand Sparks Nationwide Debate

Order Cannabis Online Order Cannabis Online

Community health workers gathered enthusiastically for the National Community Health Workers Day, hosted by the Ministry of Public Health in Bangkok on March 20 last year. The photo taken by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill captures the vibrant energy of the event.

However, not everything is as cheerful behind the scenes. A proposed bill from the Public Health Ministry has sparked a wave of controversy among village health volunteers nationwide. The bill, open for public comment online until July 11, proposes an age limit of 70, effectively mandating retirement for volunteers upon reaching that age. This change would disrupt the lifetime service terms currently in place.

Opposing voices are loud and clear, especially from the northern province of Chiang Mai, where village health volunteers are preparing to submit a formal letter of opposition to the provincial governor. Similarly, in Khon Kaen, the sentiment is that the proposed age cap is grossly unfair to those who’ve dedicated decades to this critical work, often without any financial backing.

The Department of Health Service Support (DHSS) highlights that the intent of the bill is to bolster the skills necessary for family and community health promotion, officially recognize the volunteers’ status, and ensure they receive adequate benefits. A key feature of the bill includes the formation of a panel chaired by the public health permanent secretary, tasked with promoting and supporting the volunteers’ work. Additionally, a fund will be established to aid their endeavors.

Currently, there are about one million health volunteers across the country, forming the backbone of family and community health security. Their role in the community cannot be overstated, and it’s this very crucial contribution that they are fighting to protect.

Ketsarin Saengsawat, a health volunteer in Khon Kaen, expressed her displeasure with the age limit proposal. “It’s simply not fair to the older volunteers who started long before there were any monthly allowances,” she stated. “If the age limit were applied solely to new volunteers, it would be more acceptable. But those already serving should be allowed to continue their work for life or until they choose to resign.”

Ketsarin also pointed out that volunteering has become more appealing in recent years, thanks to the introduction of a 2,000 baht monthly allowance and an increase in the funeral welfare fund from 150,000 baht to 540,000 baht.

Another dedicated health volunteer from Khon Kaen, Ura Prapmontri, weighed in, arguing that age is not a barrier. “Many older volunteers have adapted to digital technology just fine. But if an age limit must be set, 80 years old seems more reasonable,” she said. “Retiring now would be unjust for those dependent on the monthly stipend for household expenses and debt management.”

Treechada Srithada, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Public Health, mentioned that the age limit would not apply to current volunteers when the law comes into effect. Nonetheless, they must register within one year post-enactment, or their service will be terminated. She urged all concerned parties to voice their opinions during the public hearing phase, assuring that these inputs will be considered before the bill is finalized and submitted to the cabinet.

The debate surrounding this bill illuminates the deep respect and dependence communities have on their health volunteers. As the public hearing continues, it remains to be seen how these passionate voices will shape the final legislation.


  1. Chai R. July 8, 2024

    This age limit proposal is ridiculous. These volunteers are the heart of our healthcare system!

    • panthawat_420 July 8, 2024

      I agree, Chai. Some volunteers are way more effective than younger ones. Age shouldn’t matter if they’re still performing well.

      • Sunee July 8, 2024

        But isn’t there a point when health issues become too much? Shouldn’t we have a policy for when they need to retire for their own good?

    • DoctorSingh July 8, 2024

      Let’s not forget that the ministry is also considering their ability to adapt to new methods and technologies. Skills do erode over time.

      • Nokki July 8, 2024

        Seriously, older volunteers understand the community best. Losing them would be a huge blow.

      • Chai R. July 8, 2024

        Age should be a case-by-case basis. Some eighty-year-old volunteers are more capable than those in their fifties!

  2. grower134 July 8, 2024

    I think the stipend increases and welfare fund changes are just a way to control the volunteers. It’s all politics!

    • Munin July 8, 2024

      Typical conspiracy theory. These benefits make the volunteer work more sustainable.

    • Thida T. July 8, 2024

      Maybe it’s both? Incentivizing healthcare service but also keeping them reliant on the system.

    • Vichai P. July 8, 2024

      It’s better than nothing though. At least it acknowledges their contributions.

  3. Jan July 8, 2024

    I don’t get why they can’t just let existing volunteers continue. It seems fair to only apply the age limit to new volunteers.

  4. Khun Lek July 8, 2024

    The elderly volunteers can’t perform as efficiently. New regulations should push for younger, more competitive applicants.

    • Sorntip July 8, 2024

      Efficiency isn’t everything. Experience and community ties matter a lot, especially in healthcare.

    • Jan July 8, 2024

      It’s not like volunteers are being paid a fortune. They’re doing it because they care. We should respect that.

  5. Somsak W. July 8, 2024

    How about a compromise? Gradually phase out older volunteers while training the younger ones?

  6. Lydia M. July 8, 2024

    Totally disagree. Older volunteers are the backbone of our community health. Kicking them out would be a disaster.

    • Tin July 8, 2024

      But what if replacements can’t be found in time? That’s risky too.

    • Pim T. S. July 8, 2024

      Then the transition should be smoother and more planned. Not just a sudden cut-off.

  7. Dr. Patel July 8, 2024

    Quality control in healthcare is crucial. Perhaps mandatory training refreshers would be a better solution?

    • Somchai K. July 8, 2024

      That sounds more logical than an arbitrary age limit. Keeps everyone up-to-date.

    • Nok N. July 8, 2024

      Training is great, but would the government fund it consistently? Doubtful.

    • Lydia M. July 8, 2024

      Good point. A combined approach: training with respect for experience.

  8. Patchara July 8, 2024

    Many older volunteers are still very active and tech-savvy. It’s unfair to generalize based on age.

    • Ariya July 8, 2024

      Exactly. If someone can’t keep up, it would be noticeable and can be dealt with individually.

    • Somsri July 8, 2024

      Digital fluency shouldn’t be the only metric for their effectiveness.

  9. Ying July 8, 2024

    We should be looking for ways to encourage more people to volunteer regardless of their age, not limiting them.

    • chonthicha_99 July 8, 2024

      Yes, the focus should be on volunteer support, not restrictions.

  10. Mehdi July 8, 2024

    If an age cap is really necessary, maybe 75 or 80 years old would be more reasonable.

  11. Maliwan July 9, 2024

    The bill’s intention is good, but it needs better execution. Maybe extend the age cap and include voluntary exit options.

  12. Peera July 9, 2024

    We need both young and old volunteers. Diversity in age brings diverse perspectives and skills.

  13. Karn Sripath July 9, 2024

    Transparent public hearings and active participation from volunteers will be critical in ensuring the bill meets everyone’s needs.

    • Vicky July 9, 2024

      Agreed. The more voices, the better the final result.

    • grower134 July 9, 2024

      Bah, public hearings are just for show. Decisions are made behind closed doors.

    • Peera July 9, 2024

      Let’s hope that’s not true. Every voice matters.

  14. Joe July 9, 2024

    It baffles me that they’re focusing on an age limit instead of improving working conditions and better support for volunteers.

  15. Iwade M. July 9, 2024

    It’s important to respect the legacy and contribution of senior volunteers while evolving the system for the future.

    • Boonchai July 9, 2024

      Yes, let’s not throw away decades of dedication at the stroke of a pen.

  16. Order Cannabis Online Order Cannabis Online

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More from ThailandMore posts in Thailand »