The Department of Health is pushing for a plan to equip all state hospitals in the South with halal-standard kitchens, considering that a huge number of southerners are Muslim.
“We hope to achieve this goal by 2017,” the department’s director general Sutha Jienmaneechotchai said yesterday.
At present, 35 of the 50 state hospitals in the South have halal-standard kitchens.
“We wish to boost patients’ confidence in the food prepared by the hospitals,” Sutha explained.
The Satun Hospital is serving as a model, with its director Dr Thirachai Ua-arayaporn saying that when Muslim patients lacked confidence in the food, they developed complications and spent more time as inpatients.
“With halal food, their confidence grows and the number of days they spend in hospital drops,” he said.
Satun is one of the five provinces in South where more than 74 per cent of the residents are Muslim. Of the registered inpatients at state hospitals in the zone, 63.7 per cent practice Islam.