CONTAINMENT

contain + eliminate = no parasite

Quick Action Malaria Clinics

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A mobile clinic along the Thai-Cambodian border. Pix by WHO/Anuraj Manibhandu

IN essence mobile, the strength of the so-called fixed-schedule malaria clinics lie in their quick, on-spot detection of the plasmodium parasite in humans.

Operating right on the border, in villages where Thailand and Cambodia meet, the clinics were introduced by the project, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to contain artemisinin-resistant falciparum malaria

From border checkpoints in Trat, on the southeastern most tip of Thailand, the mobile clinics are also open to residents and travellers criss-crossing  at Chantaburi, Sa Kaeo, Buri Ram, Surin, Si Saket and Ubon Ratchathani,

A site visit in June to a  border checkpoint in Ban Khao Din, under the jurisdiction of Sa Kaeo Province, found unmistakeable action under a tree that provided scant protection from the late morning sun. In the foreground, a  young man wearing a white surgical mask, crisp white jacket, and sanitised gloves, was drawing blood from an older man, with children milling around. Behind him, an older, chunkier man who later identified himself as an interpreter able to speak Cambodian,  Not far away, a microsopist was poring over slides of blood samples.

Akorn Vejjakarn, 32, was drawing blood that would be sent over to  microscopist Anant Mathanithipakdee, 46, sitting in a slightly shadier place further inside the Thai border.

“I like the work. I feel I’m helping to save lives,” said Akorn. Taking blood samples from under the tree was a change from working at the Malaria Clinic  in Wattananakorn District, where he had been for two years.

Sirichai Srisompong, 40, openly admitted he was a merchant and that was how he had picked up the ability to speak Cambodian.  The head of the Malaria Clinic at Wattananakorn District, Chaiyong Kularb, said Sirichai,  who seemed a jolly fellow, also served as the deputy village headman of Ban Khao Din.

Mr Chaiyong said the mobile clinics in Sa Kaeo, operating twice a week at different border checkpoints, began functioning in March 2009.

In Trat and Chantaburi,  the same kind of clinics began operating in the following April.

“There are  such mobile clinics at border points in all the seven provinces but they began operating at different times depending on their readiness,” said Prapas Tamata, National Project Co-ordinator.

There is no doubt the introduction of this  quick-action and mobile unit, has speeded up the work of malaria detection.

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Written by malariacontainment

September 10, 2010 at 10:04 am

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