Kan­chanaburi’s raft of as­sis­tance

NEW FLOAT­ING MED­I­CAL UNIT ABLE TO PRO­VIDE ON-THE-SPOT HELP AT DAM

Bangkok Post - - NATIONAL - PIYARAT CHONGCHAROEN

>> As tourists were en­joy­ing wa­ter ac­tiv­i­ties and hav­ing a good time on rafts set aside for ac­com­mo­da­tion and restau­rants at Sri­nagkarind dam in Kan­chanaburi, a group of peo­ple re­mained vig­i­lant as they stood ready to pro­vide first aid for any­one suf­fer­ing ac­ci­dents or health prob­lems in the area.

They were staff work­ing on the first day of op­er­a­tion of a new float­ing med­i­cal unit at the dam.

Sri­nakarind dam in Sri Sawat dis­trict is known to be one of the prov­ince’s tourism mag­nets.

The dam draws 800,000 tourists a year and is home to 600 tow­ing rafts which serve as ac­com­mo­da­tion. On the bank of the dam, 11 re­sorts with tethered ac­com­mo­da­tion rafts at­tract visitors to stay in an area where 140 tourism busi­nesses op­er­ate.

At the dam, some­times peo­ple have ac­ci­dents while on the wa­ter or suf­fer from sud­den ill­nesses. There have been ac­ci­den­tal falls into the wa­ter that have re­sulted in deaths from drown­ing, lead­ing health au­thor­i­ties to seek ways to pro­vide a swift first aid ser­vice.

Hence the idea of a “float­ing clinic”, su­per­vised by the Pub­lic Health Min­istry’s Health Re­gion 5, which aims to pro­mote safety tourism in the area, came to fruition

The cam­paign was spear­headed by Pan­net Pang­puthipong, in­spec­tor-gen­eral of the lo­cal of­fice, who worked with var­i­ous agencies, in­clud­ing the Elec­tric­ity Gen­er­at­ing Au­thor­ity of Thai­land, Royal Thai Po­lice, Naval Med­i­cal Depart­ment, Na­tional In­sti­tute for Emer­gency Medicine, Marine Depart­ment, Depart­ment of Na­tional Park, Wildlife and Plant Con­ser­va­tion as well as some pri­vate hos­pi­tals.

They are committed to mak­ing sure that the float­ing clinic project, known as the “Sri Sawat model”, is fully up to speed and able to pro­vide a com­pre­hen­sive ser­vice by next year.

Kan­chanaburi is the first prov­ince that has launched such a ser­vice.

The deputy gover­nor, Som­jate Chong­suphav­is­arnkit, said Sri­na­garind dam has seen a ris­ing num­ber of trav­ellers ev­ery year, which has re­sulted in the bur­geon­ing num­ber of re­sorts, raft­ing op­er­a­tors and wa­ter play ac­tiv­i­ties.

Al­though pre­ven­tive mea­sures are in place, tragic ac­ci­dents do hap­pen, which are detri­men­tal to the prov­ince’s rep­u­ta­tion, he noted.

The float­ing clinic project, Mr Som­jate said, was set up to pro­vide help to peo­ple or tourists who are trou­bled by ac­ci­dents or sud­den ail­ments.

“This will help boost tourist con­fi­dence and as well as build aware­ness of ap­pro­pri­ate health and safety mea­sures among tourism op­er­a­tors,” the deputy gover­nor said.

“This is a model for pub­lic health ser­vice devel­op­ment when deal­ing with wa­ter ac­ci­dents. It adds to safety of the dam and en­ables vic­tims to re­ceive help quickly.

“As well as treat­ing tourists, lo­cal res­i­dents will also ben­e­fit from the ser­vices of the clinic,” Mr Som­jate said.

Dr Pan­net said the project was ap­proved by the Pub­lic Health Min­istry’s ex­ec­u­tives on Nov 21.

The pro­vin­cial au­thor­i­ties signed a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing last Tues­day with var­i­ous agencies for the scheme’s co­op­er­a­tion, and the clinic was launched by Pub­lic Health Minister Piyasakol Sakol­sa­tayadorn yes­ter­day.

Med­i­cal prac­ti­tion­ers, nurses, vol­un­teers and res­cue staff have been de­ployed to work at the clinic, Dr Pan­net said, ad­ding that it is fully equipped and able to deal with most cases.

Ac­cord­ing to the in­spec­tor-gen­eral, the ser­vices on the raft must be well main­tained and re­fer­rals of pa­tients to larger fa­cil­i­ties must also be an op­tion de­pend­ing on the na­ture of the case.

Ac­cord­ing to him, the float­ing clinic will be equipped with mod­ern and ef­fec­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nol­ogy so that it can act as an ef­fec­tive hub should a disas­ter strike.

Peo­ple on the raft can con­nect with cit­i­zens and emer­gency ser­vices via ra­dio com­mu­ni­ca­tion de­vices, mo­bile phones and the in­ter­net.

They can also share in­for­ma­tion about their ser­vices with the Health Data Cen­tre, su­per­vised by the Pub­lic Health Min­istry.

The fa­cil­ity is pow­ered by a so­lar cell sys­tem which charges dur­ing the day and means it can op­er­ate even dur­ing power out­ages in the re­gion.

It has sep­a­rate zones for or­di­nary pa­tients and emer­gency cases.

The fa­cil­ity has beds for med­i­cal checks, life­sav­ing equip­ment, res­pi­ra­tors, an au­to­mated ex­ter­nal de­fib­ril­la­tor, med­i­cal sup­plies as well as re­fer­ral ves­sels, in­clud­ing jet skis and speed­boats.

Dr Pan­net said Kan­chanaburi gover­nor Ji­rakiat Phum­sawat also wants to set up nearby rafts that could serve as he­li­copter land­ing pads in or­der to re­duce the time it takes to trans­port the most se­vere cases to larger hos­pi­tals.

As well as treat­ing tourists, lo­cal res­i­dents will also ben­e­fit from the ser­vices of the clinic. DEPUTY GOVER­NOR, SOM­JATE CHONG­SUPHAV­IS­ARNKIT

READY FOR AC­TION: A float­ing raft serves as a med­i­cal unit pro­vid­ing med­i­cal ser­vices for sick and in­jured tourists at Sri­na­garind dam in Kan­chanaburi’s Sri Sawat dis­trict.

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