March 20, 2014 00:00
By Poungchompoo Prasert
THE PUBLIC HEALTH Ministry will next week hold detailed check-ups for high-risk groups - including firefighters, journalists, soldiers, volunteers and motorcycle-taxi drivers - in the area affected by the Phraek Sa garbage-dump fire in Samut Prakan.
A mother took her one-year-old son, who had chronic bronchitis, to seek treatment at Samut Prakan Hospital yesterday as the smoke caused him to have respiratory problems.
After the boy was diagnosed with an inflamed lung, given oxygen and hospitalised, the family remained at home, only 1 kilometre away from the smoking dump.
The permanent secretary for Public Health, Dr Narong Sahamethapat, said the ministry had short- and long-term health measures for the three groups of people exposed to the fire, smoke and debris.
These are the high-risk group, who will be registered for detailed check-ups at Samut Prakan Hospital, the moderate-risk group living within a 200-metre radius of the dump, and the low-risk group comprising those living beyond the 200-metre radius.
Acting provincial public health officer Dr Nampol Danpipat said the check-up results and health-risk scores for the 200-500 people in the first group would be assessed to see if it were necessary to submit individuals to further tests for carcinogens. Checks on these people would be followed up every three months.
The moderate-risk group’s 400 people will be registered and undergo blood, urine, liver and kidney tests as well as get health-risk scores, he said. Further tests for this group will be on a case-by-case basis.
The low-risk group will be screened at hospitals.
Narong also reported that 15 people with eye and nose irritations had sought medical treatment in the past three days from mobile medical teams at tambon Phraek Sa Administrative Organisation and Wat Phraek Sa.
As some people living near the dump have insisted on staying in their homes, the ministry’s public relations team will pay them a visit to persuade them to evacuate.
The elderly, pregnant women, small children and those with chronic illness could develop respiratory problems from exposure to the fire’s emissions of sulphur dioxide and fine dust, Narong said.