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Health Dept moves to avert disease outbreak



Health Dept moves to avert disease outbreak | Thaiger

PHUKET: The Department of Health (DOH) will step up its efforts to ensure there are no outbreaks of disease in tsunami-stricken areas and camps for displaced people, the department’s Director-General, Dr Somyos Charoensak said today.

Dr Somyos made the announcement at a meeting of health officials from the six tsunami-affected provinces at the Phuket Merlin Hotel in Phuket City.

Although no outbreaks have been reported, Dr Somyos expressed particular concern about camps at Baan Bang Muang and Baan Nam Khem, both in Phang Nga province, and explained that health officials will focus on keeping the sites hygienic by providing clean drinking water and improving wastewater systems.

“We will provide clean drinking water and train officers of the local [administration] organizations in clearing up the garbage. This will protect against the spread of disease.

“We thought the temporary camps would give [people affected by the tsunami] a place to stay for only a short while, but, three months later, the permanent houses are still not finished. So the DOH will ensure the temporary camps are in good [hygenic] condition,” Dr Somyos said.

He added that the DOH will monitor wastewater problems in the areas, and will coordinate with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to install temporary water-treatment equipment.

Dr Somyos added that the DOH will also set up centers for children at both Baan Bang Muang and Baan Nam Khem and at other sites where the government is building permanent relief housing, so that health officials can monitor children’s physical and mental health.

These centers will be set up with assistance from international organizations, including Unicef.

“We have plans to build six centers for children in the four most heavily affected provinces: Phuket, Phang Nga, Ranong and Krabi,” Dr Somyos said.


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