Thailand Uses Eye and Facial Recognition Technology to Enhance Access to Healthcare Services

May 2023

A new project in Thailand will involve eye and facial recognition technology being used with the aim of enhancing healthcare services for foreign workers, refugees, and ethnic minorities in five provinces, as announced by the Thai Department of Disease Control. The goal is to collect patient data for people who do not have access to their documents and are therefore unable to prove their identity.

The initiative is the result of the cooperation between the Department and partners such as the Thai Red Cross Society and the National Electronics and Computer Technology Centre (Nectec). The project will be launched in Bangkok, Samut Sakhon, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Tak, and Chon Buri provinces.

Back in 2022, a smaller pilot project yielded encouraging results, successfully collecting the identities of 60,000 people. The Thai Department of Disease Control now wants to expand the pilot project, and it is currently organizing documents, equipment, and training courses for staff and local public health volunteers.

In a recent interview, the Department Chief stressed the potential positive impact of implementing facial recognition technology in providing essential healthcare services to the targeted groups. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Department experienced several challenges in following up with non-documented groups on issues related to infections or vaccinations, as such individuals lack the appropriate documents to verify their identities. Additionally, temporary number codes issued by the authorities can go missing when individuals relocate. The Department Chief highlighted how eye and facial recognition technology can be a valuable asset in disease control and managing healthcare services effectively.

(Sources: Bangkok Post; Vietnam +)

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