Thailand’s health screening policy and practices: The case of Burmese migrants with tuberculosis
Supa Vittaporn*, Pimpawun Boonmongkon
Department of Society and Health, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Mahidol University, Nakhon Pathom 73170, Thailand
Burmese migrant workers who work legally in Thailand have to follow a migrant registration system, which includes a health screening procedure. This paper investigates the health screening procedure of Burmese migrants in Thailand. Since ethnography is very useful for social research, the investigator of this study employed an ethnographic perceptive, in which the dual roles of the ethnographer are used to develop an understanding of what it is like to live in a particular setting: the investigator must both become a part of the lives of the participants of the study while also maintaining the role of an observer. The information in this study was also derived from in-depth interviews, field notes, and formal and informal interviews with 13 migrant workers with tuberculosis (TB), 4 members of a TB self-help group, 4 migrant health volunteers, 17 family members of TB patients, and 5 hospital staff.
The results of the study showed that the screening of the health of Burmese migrant workers was associated with discrimination, fear that the migrants might spread TB, and the government’s concern about the treatment cost. The screening for the health of migrants is especially presented as a health policy to monitor health issues and to prevent the spread of infectious disease to the Thai people.
Burmese migrant workers; health screening; tuberculosis