BANGKOK: American Ambassador William Itoh and Thai Foreign Minister Surin Pitsuwan jointly announced on Monday the implementation of two new U.S. programs to help meet social needs in Thailand during the current economic crisis. The American Embassy announced US$1.5 million in assistance to provide vaccinations against rabies, Japanese encephalitis and polio. The funds will enable health officials to administer 40,000 rabies vaccinations to 8,000 adults and children; 230,000 Japanese encephalitis shots to 230,000 children aged 18-24 months; and six million oral polio doses to two million children aged five years and under. A US$3 million grant to the Thai government was also signed on Monday to fund one year of graduate study in the United States for approximately 120-125 Thai candidates. The students, who will be selected by the Thai government’s Civil Service Commission, will receive funds for tuition, fees and miscellaneous expenses. The two programs are part of the US$1.7 billion economic assistance package which was announced during Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai’s visit to Washington last March.
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