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Oct 02nd
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Home Global Activities Asia Life Saving Supplies for Kidney Patients in Thailand in Flooding Crisis

Life Saving Supplies for Kidney Patients in Thailand in Flooding Crisis

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Rapid action by the Tzu Chi Foundation saved the lives of thousands of patients in Thailand suffering from renal failure after devastating floods closed the factories which make the solution they need. It provided the medication and tools for the dialysis treatment they require.

On January 16, Yu Jian-chong, convener of Tzu Chi International Medical Association (TIMA) in Thailand, and nine Tzu Chi volunteers visited the Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO) in Bangkok. On behalf of the foundation, they donated 30,000 bags of saline, 60,000 sets of IV (intravenous) kits and enough dialysis solution to treat over 10,000 patients. These gifts arrived in the nick of time.

According to the Kidney Foundation of Thailand, there are over 40,000 renal patients in the country. Their kidneys do not function properly. Of this number, about 30,000 people need dialysis treatment two to three times a week. Due to the flooding which has ravaged Thailand since September last year, many patients could not go out to get the treatment; and several dialysis centers could not provide service. Factories making dialysis solution in the Navanakorn Industrial Park, one of the biggest industrial zones in Thailand, were covered by water and could not produce saline. This caused a severe shortage of supply.

Dr Witit Artavatkun, managing director of the GPO, said: “Each dialysis treatment needs three bags of 1,000 c.c. of saline, a set of IV kits and two gallons of dialysis solution. I worried that, if the patients could not get the treatment for a few weeks, their lives would be in danger.” Therefore he sought solutions in many countries: but India, Malaysia, and Vietnam use different formula to that in Thailand. In November, Dr Chien Sou-hsin, superintendent of the Dalin Tzu Chi Hospital, led a relief team to Thailand. Dr Boonriang Chuchaisangrat, director of the Thailand Ratchaburi Public Health Office, and Dr Artavatkun took part in a video-conference to explain the situation to Master Cheng Yen and asked for her help. She agreed to provide it and the volunteers started to prepare the necessary items.

On November 16, Dr Boonriang Chuchaisangrat traveled to Taiwan and was certified as a member of the Tzu Chi Faith Crops. He represented the Thai people to accept the medication which Tzu Chi provided. He said that, during the trip in Taiwan, he realized how quickly the foundation had moved to prepare the dialysis solution.

During the donation ceremony on January 16, Yu Jian-chong, who is also a Tzu Chi volunteer in Thailand, said: “we have been caring for the flood survivors. When Dr. Witit Artavatkun mentioned the lack of dialysis solution, Dr Chien said that Tzu Chi could help.” Dr Artavatkun said that the flood had taken the lives of hundreds of people. “If the patients did not get the treatment, thousands might have passed away. These dialysis solutions, IV sets and saline will save their lives. This is a great merit to reach out a helping hand when we needed it the most.”

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