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ข่าวประจำวัน : Health problems rife in Narathiwat

HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn yesterday visited royally sponsored projects in this southern province as top health officials warned that ongoing violence had reduced residents' access to healthcare.

Public Health Minister Mongkol na Songkhla, who was present to welcome the princess, said Narathiwat currently had 118 elephantiasis patients - more than in any other province in the country.

He said all residents of villages with elephantiasis cases had to take medication every year as a preventive measure against the mosquito-borne disease.

All 78,000 residents of 19 affected Narathiwat villages received medicine in 2005, but as violence flared into almost daily attacks last year only 35,000 villagers received the medicine, he said.

"We have now drawn up a five-year plan to ensure that the medicines reach all local people. Health volunteers will help in the process," Mongkol said.

He said the incidence of elephantiasis, which can lead to permanent disability, in Narathiwat was 33 cases per 100,000 people - 11 times higher than the national rate.

Mongkol also expressed concern about the fact that many children in Narathiwat were underweight and said unhealthy conditions would damage their development.

Dr Prat Boonyawongvirot, permanent secretary for Public Health, said as many 1,772 children under six years of age in Narathiwat had been found to be suffering from malnutrition.

However, he said, the incidence of malnutrition among young children had started dropping, especially in 26 villages where royally initiated projects had been set up.

Prat said that many parents in the region wrongly believed that sugared flour was the most suitable food for infants and this was one of the main causes of malnutrition among young children in the region.

The Nation

Narathiwat

ข่าวประจำวัน : 9 February 2007
แหล่งที่มา The Nation
อ่าน 195





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