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World AIDS Day marked by discontent

60’s revisited

BUPA helping community students

World AIDS Day marked by discontent

Nopniwat Krailerg

Representatives of 5,000 members of AIDS patients in Chiang Mai say that they are not confident in the government policy on medicine distribution.

Previously, patients received medication once a month. However, at present they have to go to the hospital three times a month to get small amounts each time. They also complain that the government should have a long term plan for AIDS patients instead of an annual project for them.

AIDS volunteer officials during the exhibition show students how to use condoms.

World AIDS Day was on December 1. This year, the UNAIDS organization launched its slogan “New generation with right knowledge of sexuality and AIDS protection”. Towards those aims, Chiang Mai University (CMU) and the Department of Chiang Mai Public Health held an AIDS exhibition at the students’ activity hall at the university to publicize HIV and AIDS problems and to share knowledge about protection against infection and solve the AIDS problem.

Deputy Professor Theera Visitpanitch, deputy director of student quality development of Chiang Mai University (right) cuts the ribbon at the World AIDS Exhibition opening ceremony.

Children and teenagers are at risk because they lack proper information, and are careless in protecting themselves against infection when they reach the age of curiosity to try out new things.

All activities are aimed to give them more knowledge and awareness of AIDS. Many students of various schools visited the exhibition.

One of the AIDS show performers decorated with many condoms.

Thavee Yodreung, a representative of AIDS patients in Chiang Mai, told Chiangmai Mail that, at the moment there are 75 groups of AIDS patients, accounting for more than 5,000 people. The cooperative centers of each group are set in tambons and districts. Ten centers in hospitals and five in local health stations are there to help AIDS patient groups.

“The recent problem is that the Ministry of Public Health stated its target in 2004 was to distribute anti-AIDS medicine for 50,000 patients. However, it is almost the end of the year and there are discrepancies. The government says its responsibility is only to give medicine for 40,000 patients. How come we have to go to the hospital three times a month to get only 10 tablets each time, compared to the past when we used to go to the hospital once a month to get a bottle of tablets? Why is the medicine distribution held back? According to the hospital, there are insufficient stocks and as a result, hospitals are obliged to borrow from one another,” said Thavee.

As for the AIDS situation in Chiang Mai, according to a report from the Public Health Department of Chiang Mai, from 1988 to September 30, 2004, AIDS patients numbered 18,107 persons (12,973 males and 5,134 females) of which number 4,437 have already died. Males outnumber females more than 2:1. Most patient groups are working class people whose ages range from 25-39 years. The top five districts for AIDS infection are Doi Saket, Sun Sai, Mae Wang, Chiang Daow and Sun Pathong.

60’s revisited

Linda Buck

Many supporters of children’s cricket rolled back the years when they arrived at the Bear’s Den last Saturday night. Dressed in the fashion of the 1960’s, DJ’s who provided the correct evergreens and even food from the 60’s era, they certainly got into the spirit (and not all of it distilled).

The cold wind did not distract any of the colorfully dressed dancers from the 60’s.

The dance floor, inside and outside near the river was never empty and mini skirts were evenly matched by feather boas and ‘new age’ hippies. With the wonderful news that seven Chiang Mai boys will be playing for Thailand next week, this fundraising was organized (plus others) to pay for the air fares, hotel accommodation, and food for this very special under-13 squad.

One of the games winners between organizer Linda Buck and proprietor of ‘The Bear’s Den’ David Strudwicke.

The volunteers from the Chiang Mai Schools Cricket Alliance feel encouraged to see residents, friends, and visitors turning out in those huge numbers for such functions. All in all 17,000 baht was raised.

Keep an eye out in the Chiangmai Mail for the next events: January - Royal Ascot ‘Ladies Day’ - Mae Rim Race Course; February - Introduction of the new Under-13 squad, exhibition game and ‘English Afternoon Cricket Tea’.

If you would like further information on junior cricket in Chiang Mai, please contact Linda Buck on thaibucks2003 @loxinfo.co.th, or visit our website www.cmsca-junior cricket-thailand.com

BUPA helping community students

Autsadaporn Kamthai

Donating clothes and stationery to needy students in Ban Khun Jae of Chiang Mai’s Prao district is the latest ‘BUPA Community Connection’ from the health insurance group.

Venica Sripatarapong (left), regional manager of BUPA Health Insurance, Chiang Mai and staff and members hand out packs of stationery and clothes to Lisu and Chinese Haw students of Ban Khun Jae School in Phrao district, Chiang Mai.

Staff and members of BUPA, Chiang Mai joined the activity on November 26 to show their concern for these students. “The weather is getting cooler and BUPA realizes that these students in rural mountainous areas will struggle to cope with the cold weather, so we decided to donate clothes as our annual activity,” said Venica Sripatarapong, its regional manager.

Ban Khun Jae School is small, with only 120 students who are mostly Lisu and Chinese Haw children, so it welcomes support from BUPA to encourage these students in their education, according to Venica.

Students of Ban Khun Jae receive lunch from BUPA Health Insurance’s staff and members.

“As the school is situated on a hill, strong winds often blow away its national flag. BUPA therefore has given the school replacement national flags,” Venica said.

Sets of marble tables (which will not blow away) were also donated as the school library lacks desks and chairs. BUPA staff and members also helped to repaint the library and basketball and volleyball courts.