Introduction This quasi-experimental design aimed to investigate the health status and local wisdom in folk medicine, in order to develop a health promotion model for Akha in Thailand. The study sites were Abae village, Huan Nam Rin village, and Lau Cha village, Chiang Rai Province, Thailand.
Methods Data were collected using a questionnaire (pre-tested for validity and reliability). A 5 ml blood sample and 5 g stool sample were collected for biomarker identification.
Results In total 1008 subjects were recruited into the study; 493 male, and 515 female. 42.8% were agriculture workers, 56.7% were illiterate, 44.6% could not speak Thai, 63.9% could not read Thai, and 63.9% could not write in Thai. 44.6% lived in unsafe houses, 72.7% drank untreated mountain piped water. 25.0% of children below aged 5 year had not received any vaccinations. Of those aged 13–25 years, 30.7% smoked, 25.2% drank alcohol, 5.9% used amphetamine, 10.5% used opium, and 40.8% used marijuana, 44.2% had had sexual experience, 20.0% had first sexual experience at the aged 15 years, and 35.0% did not get married to their first sexual partners. Biochemistry results among aged 30, showed that 31.2% had Triglyceride ≥171 mg/dl, 31.2% had Uric acid ≥7.1 mg/dl. Ahka people also lack knowledge in agriculture practices, and still grow un-economic crops bringing less family income. Most young children ate insufficient protein and had malnutrition.
Conclusions The Akha healthcare system is closely related to their religions practice and local wisdom. Any model of health promotion development needs to take into account such issue.