Medical practitioners around the globe have been working tirelessly to save the lives of millions despite the imminent danger to their health and safety. Hospitals are reported running short on protective gears and medical supplies to protect their doctors and nurses from getting infected every time they examine a patient. They remain utmostly vulnerable as front liners battling against the pandemic every single day. The combined efforts of Govt. , medical institutions and the overall supports from every individual, can not only contribute to preventing the spread of infections but also in safeguarding the health and safety of our medical workforce, who play an active and important role in saving the lives of millions.
While the Govts. worldwide are working at setting new hospital infrastructures and dedicated wings for COVID19 patients and building on more resources and man-power to join the coronavirus fight, Fairtrade producers in Thailand have decided to invest their Fairtrade premium amount to provide supports to local hospitals and clinics looking after COVID cases in the surrounding regions, by donating necessary equipment and medical supplies.
Fairtrade Premium is an additional sum of money that goes into a communal fund for workers and farmers to use – as they see fit – to improve their social, economic and environmental conditions.
In response to the crisis Fairtrade producers in Thailand have implemented various premium projects to mitigate the risk for their farmers, medical practitioners, and their surrounding communities. Nam Om Community Enterprise Group; FLO ID 2426 a Fairtrade rice producer in Thailand have put their strategy on preventive measures in place since Feb 2020. The entire office has been sanitized with alcohol, barrier precautions have been taken, the staff is regularly briefed to wash hands, wear masks and avoid mass gathering except in the case of unavoidable meetings in which case social distancing to be compulsorily maintained by the attendees.
A meeting was conducted by the Premium committee on 18th March to deliberate on the possible risks involved and measures to be taken to prevent the spread of infection. Post the meeting, 03 premium projects were implemented on the approval of the Premium committee, to safeguard the lives of their farmers, staff and medical workforce in the surrounding hospitals and communities.
The below needs were assessed to be taken on a priority basis:
- To provide masks to all the farmer members (3 pieces/family) and SPO staff. A total of 1,890 pieces of masks were ordered.
- Provide Digital Infrared Non-Contact Thermometers for 12 villages and 3 community hospitals in the surrounding 04 areas. A total of 20 thermometers were ordered. The thermometers will greatly aid the hospitals in monitoring the infection symptoms.
- Provide stocks of alcohol gels and sprays as a disinfectant for the hospital, dental clinics, office, staff, and visitors. The main aim was to provide what the hospitals required to fight the infection.
All the supplies were delivered to the hospitals and villages on 6th April.
“The Coronavirus pandemic has taken over the entire world. Though Nam Om is a small part of this world, we believe we can contribute in making a difference to the society, by fulfilling our role as a responsible organization in creating awareness, preventing the spread of infection and unifying our efforts to support our medical professionals and local hospitals catering to COVID19 cases ’’ -Patin Jantasing, Board member
Similarly, the Fairtrade Premium Committee of Pineapple Growers’ Group FLO ID 19030 has agreed to donate PPE to the community hospital for the safety of medical staff, doctors, and nurses working on COVID operation. 100 sets of PPEs are expected to arrive and will be distributed to the hospitals on 10th April.
The Fairtrade producers in Thailand have certainly shown us that much can be done during isolation from the comforts of our home. It is time we focus on building the capacity of our hospitals with sufficient medical workforce, infrastructural resources and medical supplies that will help them meet the demands of medical care more effectively during such disasters/emergencies.