BE Stories

Tuberculosis and Tobacco: dangerous combination

BE Health in Bangkok launched its first « Quit Smoking » campaign at the workplace during the first week of October 2015.

Tuberculosis and active tobacco smoking are strongly associated, also in Thailand. According to the WHO, 20% of all new tuberculosis cases may be due to smoking tobacco. Smoking increases the risk of tuberculosis. Therefore, BE Health decided to conduct a “Quit Smoking campaign”, starting at the workplace of Siam Kempinski Hotel. The campaign includes a health check-up and counseling during three months for employees who decide to stop smoking. First, informational meetings about the risks of smoking and a survey amongst all employees were organised. As a result, 12 employees decided to give up their smoking. During the coming months, these employees will receive special counselling and mental support from BE Health’s peer educators trained especially for this responsibility. They will also regularly undergo a spirometry test as well as a urine test for cotinine. Employees that have successfully stopped smoking after six months will receive an incentive from their employer.

Visit of UNAIDS’ Executive Director, Mr Michel Sidibé

On 11 October, BE Health’s peer educators in Djibouti had the chance to introduce themselves and their activities to ​Mr Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS’ Executive Director, as well as to ​Dr​ ​Yamina ​Cha​kkar​ UNAIDS’ regional director and Dr Dado Sy, UNAIDS’ representative in Djibouti. Mr Sidibé inspired BE Health’s entire team by sharing his long experience in how to best convey messages to prevent HIV from spreading in their communities. There is still a long way to go to stop the transmission of HIV in Djibouti. ​Mr Sidibé’s encouragement was therefore highly appreciated.

“BE Health is the kind of  public-private partnership that can inspire change and transform the lives of people affected by HIV, tuberculosis, malaria and other infectious diseases. We can all play a part in creating a healthier world.”

Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director

Ampha Chaisawas, an Executive Housekeeper in Klong Toey

“Excellent performance comes from the heart” says Ampha Chaisawas, the experienced Executive Housekeeper at Siam Kempinski Hotel. “My small hands can contribute to improving the health of our local communities. I’m not a doctor or a nurse, but I can help underprivileged people to get the correct medical treatment until they are cured. I can give them my free time and am proud to share my knowledge on TB and HIV with their families, neighbours and close-ones, because they need to protect themselves carefully from TB and HIV. I regularly visit Klong Toey to call on patients I’ve been looking after to check on their basic health conditions and schedule for their medical treatments. In case of a suspected TB case, I encourage family members to go to the Healthcare Centre for TB and/or HIV screening. When I visit patients in Klong Toey, I often burst into tears, as they make me aware that we are much needed. Patients smile and eat more when they see that there are still people who care for them.”

Our soul is for the benefit of mankind

Pongsak Klawthanong takes a central part in all health promotion events organised by BE Health. He knows how to make people listen to him, how to pass on his knowledge, how to encourage the community to protect themselves against TB and HIV and how to urge them to be screened. “BE Health is like a stage inviting you to share your voice and bringing communities together to fight against serious health issues”. A skilled, dynamic and talented concierge at Siam Kempinski Hotel in Bangkok, Khun Pongsak enjoys ensuring his guests have a memorable stay each and every time at the hotel and in his hometown. He applies his professional competence and dedication also in his work as a BE peer health educator. He strongly believes that people can only live peacefully and happily together by helping each other. “Our soul is for the benefit of mankind” states Pongsak. His commitment to caring for his people stands in the centre of his role as a peer health educator. Health care professionals and TB patients from the Klong Toey community don’t forget him easily, as he builds genuine relationships with his patients, encouraging them to keep up with their long treatments. Pongsak is a friend to them. What better way to be a friend than through helping them better themselves and take charge of their health?

TB Awareness raising at Victory Monument in Bangkok 12 June 2015

Based in Bangkok, AON Company (Thailand) attended its first health promotion event about TB and tobacco, together with Siam Kempinski Hotel. Organised by BE Health on 12 June at Victory Monument in Bangkok, 25 staff members from Siam Kempinski Hotel and about the same number of staff members from AON were trained by BE Health’s PHEs and enthusiastically participated in the event. Supported by the National TB Programme (NTP) and Thammasat University, this TB and anti-tobacco event aimed to check lungs through a spirometer and/or X-ray examinations and was labelled as an innovative health promotion model by the NTP. Approximately 400 citizens attended the event, of whom 104 were screened for TB and seven of whom were TB suspected.

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