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Medical Update: Pala U Noi – 26th March 2016

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Pala U Noi Village has 39 houses and about 200 people who have limited medical care and education and insufficient access to healthy food, clean water, electricity, toilets and waste disposal facilities.

The trip had several aims:

Operate our field medical clinic to:
– Provide much needed medical care
– Run a personal hygiene seminar and put up donated personal hygiene posters

Evaluate water situation:
– Decide the best way to get water to the village

Start milk project
– Provide UHT milk to shop to replace unhealthy condensed milk

Evaluate solar lights project
– Get feedback on usefulness of previously donated solar lights

Clean village project
– Distribute garbage baskets from Ba Mak

Pass on donations
– Donate clothes and educational items to poor families

The volunteers met in Hua Hin at 6:45am on Saturday morning, loaded the donated clothes, food and medical supplies into cars, kindly provided by Dave’s Car Hire Hua Hin, and headed out to the village. Our medical staff included doctors, Gerard and Paul, nurses Emma and Paula, and medical assistants, Elmi, Caitlin, Asya and photographer Kara. Conducting the assessment work were Aida, a water and sanitation expert from the UN, Annette, Lars, Aurelia, Leyna and Keith.

Medical clinic:
After arriving at the village we set up two medical clinics where we saw 34 patients including two mothers with six month old babies whose diets are being supplemented by milk provided thanks to the kind donations from Jungle Aid supporters.

We also saw a blind elderly lady, Somtit, who underwent a failed cataract operation a few years ago. Our doctors referred her to hospital so that an ophthalmologist can determine whether there is a chance of partially restoring some vision. Also referred to hospital was a young mother, Pau E ee, who had a heart condition and was experiencing dizziness. A nine year old boy, Sunsin, presented with severe breathing difficulties so we took him to hospital along with his mother after the clinic. Other illnesses included intestinal, skin and respiratory infections and burns. Along with our personal hygiene seminars we plan to develop safety in the home seminars since we are seeing scalds and burns too often, especially in children. After the medical clinic personal hygiene seminars were run by Leyna and Lars, particularly focusing on hand washing for children and mothers.

Village assessment:
Water project;
Since it has barely rained in the village for 9 months, the river is dry and villagers have to dig more than a metre under the river bed to get to even dirty water. The local council told us that there was a source of water 3km upstream that may be piped to the village so we trekked up the river to survey it. In the end it was decided that the water there may not be reliable all year round and that 3km of pipe would be impractical and prone to damage and loss. So we also surveyed some sites close to the village to dig a well. We plan to follow up with drilling companies to get a professional assessment of that possibility.

Milk project;
Mothers who have not been able to breastfeed because of a lack of water have been turning to condensed milk since it is cheap. However, it is nutritionally deficient and babies who drink it struggle to develop properly. We therefore started a project where we provide inexpensive UHT milk to the local shop to sell instead. We will follow up with the shopkeeper to see how well children are moving onto this healthier option.

Clean village project;
The community have started to recycle metal, plastic and paper since someone comes to collect it periodically. However garbage that can’t be recycled is not always disposed of properly and litter has been a problem in some parts of the village and surrounding jungle. We started a project where baskets are purchased from another village and used by Pa La U residents to keep garbage that they can then dispose of afterwards in a suitable way agreed with the council. We will help with more baskets in future and also deliver seminars on environmental health to make sure that waste disposal is done correctly.

Solar lights project;
Ten donated solar lights were distributed at the last visit to the community so we wanted to check whether they were useful. Villagers say they help and that the light is brighter than the candles that they used before. However, some mentioned they are not lasting as long as the specifications say so we will check how they are being charged and used.

Donation distribution;
Towards the end of the day we distributed the clothes and educational toys that had been kindly provided by our donors. After an amazing day with the incredible volunteers we headed home.

If you are interested in joining us on a trip please sign-up on the Jungle Aid Meetup website at: http://www.meetup.com/Jungle-Aid-a-humanitarian-aid-charity/ You will see that places are limited so it is better to sign-up earlier. We have many volunteer roles available, many require only passion and enthusiasm though we are also looking for people with technical skills. If you have skills in the following or know someone who does, Jungle Aid would be very keen to hear:

– Website design and maintenance
– Project management
– Doctor, Nurse, Dentist, Nutritionist
– Water and sanitation expert

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