By: Krit Pongpirul
Over 1 million Village Health Volunteers in Thailand provide infectious disease surveillance and other health management services. These volunteers receive over 40 hours of initial training and regular follow-up sessions. As a result of their efforts, Thailand achieved global leadership in reducing deaths among children under five years of age.
As part of its primary health care policy that was established in 1977, Thailand has gradually expanded its
cadre of Village Health Volunteers (VHVs), or “Or Sor Mor.” At present there are more than 1 million
VHVs can recognize age-specific health problems as well as surveil the community for infectious and non-
infectious diseases. They participate in planning for and management of community health problems, utilizing financial support from the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) or other sources.
Each VHV is responsible for 10 households on average. They assist the local health workers in promoting
health and preventing diseases as well as in providing basic health services to local communities.
Initial training is 43 hours of classroom work. Follow-up training is provided on a regular basis. Topics cover
comprehensive health management for persons in different age groups, infectious disease surveillance and
control, health promotion, mental health, consumer protection, as well as traditional health knowledge.
The VHV Program is under the Primary Health Care Division of the Department of Health Service Support
(DHSS) of the MOPH. VHVs are supervised by on-site local health workers. A web-based VHV information
platform has been developed and is widely used, and a mobile Android application “SMART Or Sor Mor”
has been introduced.
Incentives and compensation
Each VHV receives a monthly salary of 600 baht (US$ 20), in addition to the social recognition they receive,
the sponsored leisure activities, parties, field trips, and possible national awards.
VHVs have contributed to a broad range of health promotion and health prevention activities. For example,
they are active with avian flu surveillance, HIV prevention and control activities, as well as the promotion of
children’s oral health. Thailand has been a global leader among low- and middle-income countries in reducing its under-5 mortality rate.