K Nilvarangkul, T Phajan, U Inmuong, JF Smith and P Rithmark
Informal sector workers are a significant part of the Thai workforce but occupational health service provision for them is under-developed. This multi-method study investigated occupational health policies and service provision in 10 primary health units in four north eastern Thailand provinces. Questionnaires, in-depth interviews and focus group discussions were used to collect data. Descriptive statistics and content analysis were used to analyse quantitative and qualitative data respectively. Results showed limited policy and budget support for such services. Even though service providers’ occupational health knowledge overall was good, only two of the units provided such services. They were notable for very good functional relationships with their local administration organizations, community and worker leadership and village health volunteers, plus strong staff commitment to support workers health in their own communities. We suggest that enhancing primary care services for worker health and safety requires development of stronger policy directives, budget provision and management support.