BE Stories

World TB Day in Khlong Toei

On Sunday, 19 March, we celebrated World TB Day on the 70 Rai’s square in Khlong Toei. With the help of six BE Health community health volunteers and two peer educators, we joined the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) to raise awareness of the disease among its dwellers. Although the population of this neighbourhood live with it, people do not “think tuberculosis”. There is a low level of knowledge about tuberculosis, and people are not aware of how the disease is transmitted. They may even play down the importance of symptoms or choose self-medication. And because of this, people don’t immediately seek medical assistance, which causes a delay in diagnosis and the spread of the disease.

In order to meet its commitment, the BMA sent that day a mobile X-ray van, parked at the side of the square, offering people the chance to get screened. A little more than 20% of all those who were screened were referred to the local healthcare centre as they were suspected of having TB. Such an outcome proves that tuberculosis remains a public health concern in Khlong Toei. That is why the work of our community health volunteers is crucial when they are tirelessly crisscrossing the narrow alleys of 70 Rai and Lok 1 to screen households for TB, bring knowledge and urge people with suspected TB to attend the healthcare centre for further medical investigation.

Unite to end TB

World TB Day was initiated to build public awareness about TB on every 24 March. It is a special day for all those who strive to end this disease. That is why World TB Day is a meaningful day for us too. Every year, we celebrate with our partners and members the date in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch announced his discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacillus that causes tuberculosis (TB). Thanks to Koch’s discovery, TB is diagnosed and cured in most of the cases. Though still 1.5 million people die from the disease every year.
On 13 March and in front of the press, BE Health was invited by Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health and Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) to present its activities and to launch together TB raising awareness activities in the country. Hand in hand with BMA, our peer educators and community health volunteers will mark the day by organising special awareness activities on 19 March in 70 Rai, Khlong Toei.

Business engagement in health

Exploring opportunities for Swiss corporations to engage in health stood at the centre of Swiss Malaria Group’s Corporate Forum, held on 26 January at Grand Hotel Kempinski in Geneva and organised in collaboration with BE Health. Together, we can do much more was the leading motto of the discussion between Swiss corporations and public health organisations. Companies cannot be functioning in isolation from the communities where they are operating, particularly in countries where the burden of communicable diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria is still high. This is also true for Kempinski. Its hotel operations fully depend on local employees, while local guests also fuel its business. Kempinski’s CEO, Markus Semer, stated that “our employees are exposed to infectious diseases and we needed a ready-to-implement solution to fix the problem; that’s the reason why we co-founded BE Health. BE Health offers a straightforward solution for detecting and preventing infectious diseases among our employees and communities”. Companies can bring more than donations. Companies can address their business context with business competences and relationships to create a positive change and social benefits in businesses’ communities.

Besides Swiss companies such as Firmenich, LafargeHolcim, Novartis and Syngenta, the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, the Global Fund and MMV as well the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute also participated in this first Corporate Forum to encourage corporations to engage in health.

Siam Kempinski Hotel makes a difference for more than 40 TB patients in Khlong Toei.

Together with 400 invitees, Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok celebrated its sixth anniversary on 7 October. Since six years, the hotel successfully receives famous and less famous guests from all around the world. However, its management team also wanted to associate the nearby communities during that evening and organised a successful silent auction for the benefit of BE Health’s activities in Khlong Toei. In solidarity, 13 Kempinski hotels donated each a voucher of a three-night stay. Bidders were generous as a total amount of EUR 18,900 was collected in a few hours. This amount will be spent to provide social support to more than 40 TB patients and their families during their illness.

 

From left to right: Suriyont Arunwattanakul –Thai actor; Setthawut Naruemityarn – highest bidder; Samir R. Wildemann, General Manager Siam Kempinski Hotel and SVP Operations South East Asia; Sutanya Prodtayakul.

 

BE Health’s new programme coordinator in Djibouti

After having been an energetic and skilled peer educator in Djibouti’s quarters for the past 18 months, Lydia was appointed BE Health’s workplace coordinator at Djibouti Palace Kempinski. Since September, she coordinates her colleagues’ peer education activities at their workplace and in their neighbourhoods. Lydia wants to make a difference. Armed with health knowledge and communication skills, she and her team of 14 peer educators will continue to promote health-enhancing knowledge about TB and HIV in Djibouti’s quarters and encourage family members of TB patients to get screened. They will also continue to bring TB patients who withdrew from their medical treatment back to medication.

How you can help

Become a member

Health is a shared value between businesses and the local communities.

Contact Us

Donate

BE Health Association’s peer education programmes are entirely funded by donations.

Donate

Share

Tell your friends about BE Health Association and help us spread health.
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterGoogle+Email to someone