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Dr Thep Himathongkam: transforming diabetes treatment in Thailand

Gayle C. Avery (Macquarie University)

Strategy & Leadership

ISSN: 1087-8572

Article publication date: 16 May 2016




This interview discusses a “Blue Ocean” strategy initiative: how to introduce effective change in diabetes care into Thailand given a strong reluctance in patients, and in Thai society, to see that diabetes is not a condition to be treated by doctors alone.


An interview with Dr Thep Himathongkam, the pioneer of holistic diabetes care in Thailand.


One strategic management problem he faced was the lack of suitably trained staff. Thailand had no university courses producing the multidisciplinary personnel needed for diabetes treatment such as diabetes educators, dieticians, or foot care specialists. He address the multidisciplinary personnel shortage by training the missing specialists, getting universities on board and more recently securing funding from the World Diabetes Foundation.

Practical implications

The result of the diabetic foot-care training for more than 2,500 personnel, mostly from community hospitals, has been markedly successful, with a reduction in annual amputations in Thailand of 80 per cent over five years.


This interview offers a look at the multi-track problem solving required to successfully implement a Blue Ocean strategy.



Our thanks to Thep Himathongkam, MD, FACP, FACE. Professor Emeritus (Mahidol University) and Theptarin Hospital, Bangkok. Email:


Avery, G.C. (2016), "Dr Thep Himathongkam: transforming diabetes treatment in Thailand", Strategy & Leadership, Vol. 44 No. 3, pp. 40-46.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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