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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 340-346

Spatial distribution of dentists in Thailand

1 Doctoral of Public Health Program, Faculty of Public Health, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand
2 Faculty of Public Health, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand
3 Faculty of Economics, Thammasat University, Bangkok, Thailand

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Wongsa Laohasiriwong
Faculty of Public Health, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen 40002.
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jioh.jioh_138_19

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Background: Thailand has been facing maldistribution of dentists for decades despite its continuous increase in total numbers. Aims: The objective of this study was to analyze spatial inequality of dentist distribution patterns in Thailand. Materials and Methods: Data on dentist in public sector profiles between 2007 and 2015 were retrieved from the Ministry of Public Health, Thailand, to analyze the distribution patterns and spatial relationships. The distribution of dentists was visualized on a map using Quantum Geographic Information System. Global Moran I and local indicators of spatial association were analyzed using GeoDa software to determine the distribution of spatial relationship. Results: The total number of dentists has been increased annually from 2007 to 2015. Initially, the high–high (population-to-dentist ratio) spatial clusters were common in the Northeast (NE) region, whereas there were many low–low spatial clusters in Central region. In 2015, the high–high spatial clusters persisted in the NE region, but the low–low spatial clusters were hardly found in the Central region. Conclusions: Unequal geographical distribution of dentist still existed in Thailand, especially in the NE region. Both supply side concerning administrative factors related to resource allocation, and demand side of socioeconomic development and population changes from migration had influences on inequality in dentist distribution.

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