185315 In the Wake of the Tsunami: Rebuilding an Island Community and Improving Public Health Infrastructure; a Thailand/United States Collaboration

Monday, October 27, 2008: 9:30 AM

Caroline Jean Ford, MPH , Center for Education and Health Services Outreach, University of Nevada School of Medicine, Reno, NV
Valaikanya Plasai, DrPH , Chulalongkorn University, College of Public Health, Bangkok, Thailand
The South Asia Earthquake and Tsunami on 26 December 2004 changed the lives and communities of six provinces in southern Thailand consisting of Phuket, Ranong, Pangna, Krabi, Chumphorn and Trang. There was loss of life of tourists and local residents in addition to serious damage to buildings, village homes and local economies. Thousands of people died and thousands of others were left in extremely difficult circumstances as they lacked the basic needs for survival. Assistance from the Thai Government and private sectors, in addition to financial support from all over the world, came into Thailand, but the aid was focused in devastated areas that had greater impact on economic recovery, leaving communities that sustained less damage, struggling to recover. In reality, individual loss to every household was tremendous, and as village homes were damaged so were their livelihoods with fishing boats and fishing equipment.

The villagers of Koh Libong in the Andaman Sea, were selected as part of an emergency and intermediate intervention to address selected public health improvements: rebuilding of homes, refurbishing of fishing vessels and individual economic aid to families as part of a faculty response of the School of Public Health at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok Thailand and visiting faculty of the University of Nevada School of Medicine.

This project addresses collaborative community needs assessments, strategic planning, fund raising and intervention/rebuilding between the provincial public health district of Trang, and multiple multi-national partners. This session will provide an overview of the on-site assessment and intervention strategies, strategic interventions, evaluation of village outcomes and public health improvements. The three year reconstruction effort has expanded public health and primary care services to the island in a manner not originally envisioned. The continuing issues associated with villager well being and long-term health care service are descriptive markers for public health interventions that have assisted enhanced improvements post-Tsunami.

Learning Objectives:
Audience will be able to cite three public health threats associated with Tsunami impacted island communities; Audience will be able to cite planning strategies associated with post-disaster assessment; Audience will be able to cite key interventions associated with community based reconstruction efforts; and Audience will be able to cite long term physical and mental health improvements associated with project development.

Keywords: International Health, Rural Health Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Participated as organizing faculty member and executed the rebuilding efforts and 3 year evaluation of project outcomes.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.