CONTAINMENT

contain + eliminate = no parasite

A Force of Dedication in the Field

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Uraiwan plays a big role in curbing vector-borne diseases in eastern Thailand. Pix by WHO/Anuraj Manibhandu

SA KAEO, Eastern Thailand — This lady responsible for the province’s malaria control activities shows dedication and  know-how, going out into the sun to check out a mobile clinic, and presenting power points to a room full of experts pressing her to say more.

When Uraiwan Tattong speaks, you have to listen, not only because of what she has to say, but because her voice has a warmth of tone and quality of texture that would make her a contralto if she were to take up singing.

She affirms that the project to contain killer malaria parasites tolerant to artemisinin has had a positive impact here. “It has helped reduce the incidence of malaria by about 50 per cent in one year, I would say,…through all activities.”

The so-called Fixed Schedule Malaria Clinic, which are placed right on the border with Cambodia, “enables us to draw blood samples and verify through microscopy if they are positively carrying malaria parasites quickly”. By quickly, she means 20 minutes.

In this province, the quick-fix delivery clinic happens twice a week at three points along  the border and began operating in March 2009.

At 54, Ms. Uraiwan has played a responsible role in curbing vector-borne diseases in this part of eastern Thailand for some  years. She became head of the centre that deals malaria and other vector-borne diseases here in Sa Kaeo in October 2009, after serving in the same position in Si Racha, further southwest, for two years.

She hesitated to admit that coming here was something of a promotion, but she did say that the seaside town of Si Racha, on the Gulf of Thailand, “is smaller than Sa Kaeo.” Asked what her sights were in the six years she has left before the mandatory retirement age of 60, she replied “that’s up to my higher-ups.”

Both Sa Kaeo and Si Racha come under the same regional office based in Chon Buri, where Khun Uraiwan graduated at Burapha University in Public Health Science.

Difficulties in Cambodia, from the 1970’s through the early 1990’s, especially along the border with Thailand has compromised Cambodia’s malaria control efforts for many years.

However, having been trained in public health, Khun Uraiwan knows that issues verging on life and death transcend all others, and, through her work, has tried hard to build trust among nationals of Thailand’s neighbour, no matter what is happening on other fronts.

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Written by malariacontainment

September 10, 2010 at 10:05 am

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