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Thai Tsunami Zone: Mother & Child Health Services

Mother And Child Health Services In Thai Tsunami Zone Expanded By UN Agency

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) today said it is restoring its health services, including HIV/AIDS prevention, in the coastal region of Thailand devastated by the December tsunami and also expanding its work into the communities of immigrants from Myanmar.

"The tsunami's tragic debris has largely been cleared and ground has been broken for new communities in Ranong, Phang-nga, Phuket and Krabi," UNFPA said in Phuket.

"After a joint assessment, UNFPA and the Ministry of Public Health agreed assistance should focus on safe motherhood, family planning, gender equality, HIV prevention and adolescent health, including behaviour change communication."

Mahidol University would survey people in the area to determine their needs and local people would help plan and evaluate the programmes, it said.

The low-paid migrants from neighbouring Myanmar have been vital to the commercial fishing and construction sectors, but "their communities lack adequate health care and information, contributing to a high incidence of childhood diseases, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS," UNFPA said.

Working with a major international non-governmental organization (NGO), World Vision, UNFPA helped provide emergency housing and safe water for displaced Thai and migrant families after the tsunami hit. World Vision would now implement the UNFPA programme for migrant families in Phang-nga, as it has been doing in Ranong, the agency said.

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