Medical genetic services in a developing country: lesson from Thailand

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Abstract

Purpose of review

The aim of the review was to give an example of how advances in medical genetics impact a developing country and how Thailand struggles to improve medical genetic services.

Recent findings

Thailand is an example of a developing country with limited resources and low geneticist-to-population ratio. The country formally followed decentralized healthcare system (even though practically centralized) and is a nation with growing public interest in medical genetic technology. Nonetheless, efforts have been and are still being made in expanding clinical genetics services, improving access to laboratory diagnosis, increasing rare disease medication in national formulary, and the training of medical genetics personnel. For an endemic genetic disorder such as thalassemia, a universal prevention and control program is available and has had some success.

Summary

Lesson learned in country like Thailand may be a useful model for other developing nations. Several strategies can be attempted to integrate the advances in medical genetics into medical practices in developing countries with relatively low income per capita and geographic discrepancy in healthcare distribution.

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