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Political row infects health workers

The country's political division has spread to Public Health officials and health volunteers, with staff at the ministry coming close to blows yesterday.

Witnesses said the blowup came after a group of 400 health volunteers from Bangkok, led by Kornrawee Tantakul, president of the Bangkok Health Volunteers, visited the Public Health Ministry in Nonthaburi province.

They read out a statement calling for the ministry’s permanent secretary Dr Narong Sahametapat, hospital directors and health officials nationwide to stay neutral in the political climate.

"We found there was an order to collect the signatures of health officials wishing to topple the elected government," Kornrawee said. Another order instructed health officials to set up banners criticising the caretaker government.

Kornrawee said health officials should not use government offices to express their political stance. "This is not appropriate behaviour," she said.

The volunteers also called for Narong to resign from his top ministry position if he could not be neutral over the political situation and was playing politics. They then burned an effigy of Narong.

Angry health officials responded by blowing whistles at the group of health volunteers.


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