Issues Arising from the Creation of Special Economic Zone in Southern Thailand: A Scoping Step of Rapid Health Impact Assessment


  • Suvapak Benjatanawat
  • Sang-arun Isaramalai
  • Dudsadee Muenhor
  • Pongthep Sutheravut



Scoping, rapid health impact assessment, special economic zone.


Background: Special Economic Zone (SEZ) policy of Thai government aimed to promote the economy
in bordered provinces. Its establishment may cause concerns and impacts on communities. This article
explores those issues arising from SEZ establishment in Southern Thailand.
Method: The scoping step of rapid health impact assessment process was applied using documentary
research combined with qualitative descriptive approaches, including focus group discussions, interviews,
and brainstorming. Data were collected from seventy participants, comprising government officials, local
government officials, community leaders, public health volunteers, members of local organizations, and
local residents. Content analysis was used to analyze the data.
Conclusion: The most important issues were found in four aspects—economic, social, environmental, and
health. The economic aspect involved higher income and more employment opportunities, while for the
environmental aspect, the issues were related to waste management and water pollution. The social issues
comprised the build-up of traffic and the influx of migrant workers. The health issues were emerging/reemerging infectious diseases, particularly from migrant workers and the insufficiency of health services. As
a result, a rapid health impact assessment should be carried out based on these issues. It should be taken into
consideration by local officials responsible for developing and regulating the SEZ.

Author Biographies

Suvapak Benjatanawat

Ph.D. Student

Sang-arun Isaramalai

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Nursing

Dudsadee Muenhor

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Environmental

Pongthep Sutheravut

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Health Impact Assessment Research
Center, Public Policy Institute, Prince of Songkla University, Hat Yai, Songkhla, Thailand



How to Cite

Suvapak Benjatanawat, Sang-arun Isaramalai, Dudsadee Muenhor, & Pongthep Sutheravut. (2021). Issues Arising from the Creation of Special Economic Zone in Southern Thailand: A Scoping Step of Rapid Health Impact Assessment. Medico Legal Update, 21(2), 1162-1167.