By Henrik Petersen, Royal Danish Embassy
Deadline is fast approaching for Thailand to make use of a Danish offer to finance additional supplies of Danish medical equipment to hospitals in Thailand with a soft loan package of 2,000 million Baht. A contract must be signed by October this year. Otherwise the mixed credit scheme – under which the interest free loan is being offered – will terminate in Thailand.
In 1996, a contract for DKK 340 million was signed between the Ministry of Public Health and a group of Danish suppliers to provide medical equipment for 93 provincial hospitals and approximately 300 rural health centers all over Thailand, based on a 10-year interest free loan from Danida.
All supplies under the contract – including ultrasound, anaesthesia, intensive care monitoring and dental equipment – have been delivered.
Danida also gave a grant of DKK five million for education and training courses which have been conducted both in Denmark and Thailand according to the principle of “train the trainer”. In all, 1,200 doctors and nurses have received education and training under the program.
On December 1,1998, the Thai Cabinet again decided to make use of an interest free loan from Danida of up to USD 56 million to finance additional supplies
of medical equipment from Denmark for the same hospitals and rural health centers. On January 19, 1999, the Cabinet approved the technical requirements of the project.
At present, the Ministry of Public Health and consultants from Danida are jointly working out the final need assessment and technical specifications, following which a tender will be offered.
Time has become a critical factor for the project since the contract must be entered into before October 1999, at which time the mixed credit program – under whcih interest free loans are being offered – will terminate in Thailand.