Thursday, 15 September 2016

The smile wiped off Thailand’s face?

What a heart-breaking week for Thai students. First the appalling hazing incident at Kasetsart Chonburi campus with Khun Chokchai almost drowning in a water treatment pond. And only now recovering and off a hospital respirator. (If water training was involved why wasn't the Kasetsart swimming pool used?).

Then the egg-tofu incident of a Surin schoolgirl being forced by a teacher to eat a tofu she was allergic to – a serious allergic reaction could have killed her.

And now Khun Narudee the Korat schoolgirl disfigured by a PE teacher throwing a china mug at her. And the report of a Mae Hot Son schoolboy having part of his ear cut off by a teacher!?

Obviously such incidents must be rare in Thailand, and are non-existent in UK except by other schoolchildren bulling each other. If anything many UK teachers are bullied by the schoolkids.

But what a horrifying indictment on Thai education. And surely Thailand’s excellent hospitals and surgeons should be stepping forward to help Khun Narudee?

Hospitals in Nakhon Ratchasima must be in touch with say Mahidol University and then the range of specialist hospitals and doctors in Thailand or ASEAN?

In my candidacy I would even make sure the UK government and NHS stepped in to help, whether Khun Narudee is flown to England or a UK surgeon flown to Thailand. Even Operation Smile and its work on similar facial disfigurements for cleft-palates must be able to help.

(update: Khun Pavena Honsakula and The Pavena Foundation for women and Children are helping and Yanhee hospital in BKK).

Shouldn’t UK and Thai hospitals and nursing colleges and governments pull together a specialist fund for such unusual and needy cases?

Here in Kent some UK hospital services are already available in Benelux so the other EU embassies in Thailand would no doubt be supportive too?

The UK NHS is world-class and with the largest number of staff after the Peoples Liberation Army and Walmart so one injured Thai schoolgirl would pose no problems.

And there is wider concern of the NHS brand being rolled out with UK tax by say Moorfields Eye Hospital to bling-bling Dubai – but for paying cataract operations etc not the free at source basis of the NHS.

Indeed a recent BBCTV documentary highlighted the work of foreign staff in the NHS – with worries over the 3.6% EU (and 4% Commonwealth and 2.6% other international) staff in the NHS being put off by Brexit and leaving UK. In that instance Myleene Klass the singer, radio DJ and piano player’s Filipino mother who worked at Norfolk hospitals. And reporting from Belfast on the upgrade of the first specialist NHS hospital built in 1962.

As a Surin School charity founder surely there is no place for teachers behaving in thus way to the schoolkids – and the potential for greater UK and Thailand links?

While the former Chief Constable for Greater Manchester Police has opened a Street Kids charity for the street kids of Cambodia and Philippines and East Africa.

A positive change from the dark days of Latin America and the Brazilian military regime exterminating street kids, but the Olympic Rio favelas still with desperate poverty and crime. 19 out of 20 of the world’s most dangerous cities in Latin America as worse than most warzones – only Cape Town and Joburg in South Africa as bad.

Even the boiling water burns common in Isaan – here in South East England there is the Queen Victoria specialist burns hospital supported by the famous UK actress Angela Redman who suffered serious cooking burns as a child. The hospital was originally developed as a pioneer in burns treatments for the “Guinea Pig Club” of RAF pilots injured by burning planes in WW2 and telepresence training and surgery is available.

While the Khun Chokchai highlights the appalling number of drownings in ASEAN: 35 each day just in Vietnam.

Wouldn’t the Thai Red Cross be a relevant port of call too for assistance? It can do no harm for the UK and Thai Red Crosses to have closer links with each other. And expand work with the Red Crescent in Malaysia and Myanmar?

An interesting new advertising campaign in UK with 59% of road deaths occur before an ambulance arrives providing a spur for Red Cross First Aid training. Or simply to raise awareness of innovative products such as Lucky Iron Fish to reduce iron deficiency and anaemia in malnutrition.

And both the Red Cross and RNLI lifeboats would be relevant to help with swim training and to reduce drownings in rivers or the sea.

I’ve written before on the dangers of cooking fires, cook stoves and an excellent UNSDG fires report that far exceeds anything UK has done so far:

Thailand in its dying days of the G77 presidency should be urging each nation to adopt and adapt the UNSDG30 goals through their public sector ie schools, hospitals, police, local government etc? Otherwise the goals will simply be a piece of paper ignored in the filing cabinet and 2030 will come and go with nothing done.

20M preventable deaths each year before 2030 for the lack of soap, clean water, vaccines, malaria nets and condoms, would be a terrible epitaph to such failure.
But surely UK and Thailand between them can restore Khun Narudee's smile?

Time for Change

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