AFTER MORE than 100 people contracted malaria in 15 months (January 2018 to March 2019) in the northeastern province of Si Sa Ket, health advocates joined forces to provide knowledge about this mosquito-borne disease to workers tapping rubber trees on the Thai-Cambodia border.
The worst-hit areas of Si Sa Ket were Khun Han, Kantharalak, Khukhan and Phusing districts, which saw 105 malaria patients (22 with the PF strain and 83 with PV strain) from January to December 2018. Meanwhile, the first three months of this year saw 10 patients (three suffering from PF and seven from PV) in Khun Han’s tambon Huai Chan.
Rubber tappers, who work and live in rubber plantations on the Phanom Dongrak mountain range in Khun Han district, are considered to be most at risk due to the dense population of malaria-carrying Anopheles mosquitoes.
Thanayot Phromdao, director of Raks Thai Foundation’s office in the Northeast, recently led volunteers and officials from the Phusing Hospital network and the Phusing communicable disease-control checkpoint to Phu Tiktok on the Phanom Dongrak mountain range, which is just 2 kilometres from the Cambodian border.
Also joining the trip were members of the Si Sa Ket Immigration Police Bureau, as well as officials from the Regional Malaria Civil Society Organisation Platform – American Refugee Committee, which is working on curbing drug-resistant malaria in the Greater Mekong region.
The trip was to check on volunteers and officials who visit the area weekly to provide information to rubber tappers and to give them chemical-laced hammocks and mosquito nets.
Workers have been urged to monitor their health conditions as well as those of their close ones, so they can seek timely medical attention.
They were also told to light mosquito coils while working, especially during the 7pm to 9.30pm and 4.30am to 5.30am periods when Anopheles mosquitoes are known to be out on the hunt for blood.