Interesting news report by Nopniwat Krailerg on CM Mayorís comments
about the thousands of Public Health Officers, community leaders and
volunteers working together to check for signs of the bird flu virus. Also
the educational program for residents telling them how to spot symptoms and
to report on bird and fowl deaths in the area.
This is all very well but has any member of the general
public actually been able to report the death of birds and/or fowl? For that
matter, has anyone at Chiangmai Mail tried to do this?
We had an instance of finding a dead bird in a
neighborís dog pen which we were minding while the owners were away. The
dog was sleeping on the bird - possibly a pigeon or dove - and there were a
lot of feathers scattered around so it was probably trying to eat the
carcass as well. So we thought it worth reporting, but to whom?
We found the dead bird on a Sunday morning in the Doi
Saket area. First, we tried the local police station. They didnít know but
said they would try to find out and call us back. That was almost three
weeks ago - and still no news.
Then we tried the local hospital. They asked a lot of
questions - how many birds? What kind of bird? How long was it dead? Had we
touched it? But didnít know where to report it and had no suggestions.
We tried the local health and administration offices -
but of course, they were closed - Sunday.
Finally, we tried the phone operator who gave us a
four-figure number saying this was a 24/7 emergency number. We rang. Nobody
In desperation, we called our niece, a health worker in a
major Bangkok hospital. She told us the four figure number was for the
Bangkok area only and no other numbers exist for the rest of the country.
However, she did manage to locate a district health worker in the Chiang Mai
area with a mobile number. He said it was not in his jurisdiction but that
he would contact an appropriate person. Such a person did call us on that
same Sunday evening and said he would come to the site on Monday morning.
Which he did - and took the carcass away for testing. He
said he would report back to us in 10 days if there was a problem. He
hasnít. He also left with us some chemical to be mixed with 20 liters of
water and sprayed around the area. This was done with the aid of local
gardening workers and their sprayer on our housing estate.
The upshot of it all? We have had no report from the
district official who took the carcass for testing. The dog is still alive
and apparently unaffected- as are we. The owners have returned to take over
the dogís care.
The point though is this - is it possible to make it
easier for members of the general public to report instances of bird/fowl
death by publishing a local emergency number to phone? A 24/7 local number
that is at least connected to an answering service.
Your worthy rag would win smarty points with its readers
if it published such a number with each report of bird flu you publish.
Donít you think? Or you could donate a small section for this - an
earpiece say? Or an advertiser could sponsor the space - a vegetarian
Sasina and Malcolm Logan
P.S. - further to my letter, you may be interested to know that the
Ďman from the ministryí, that is, the district official who took the
bird carcass away for testing phoned today to say that the results of the
test were negative, i.e., no bird flu. So the system does grind slowly on if
you are prepared to persevere with it ... I wonder how many are?