On ASEAN Dengue Day, 15 June 2021, Kao Industrial (Thailand) Co., Ltd., led by Yuji Shimizu, President, joined forces with Amata Corporation PCL, The Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT), National Electronics and Computer Technology Center (NECTEC) and The Division of Vector-Borne Diseases (DVBD), Ministry of Public Health, to launch the project "Collaboration Project to reduce the spread of Dengue fever" in order to curb and reduce the toll of sick and deceased caused by the spread of the dengue virus, which has been a major health concern among ASEAN countries for decades.
For the first phase, the project took the occasion of the ASEAN Dengue Day to kick off its pilot project in Nong Mai Daeng, Don Hua Lo sub-districts, and Amata City Chonburi Industrial Estate, Chonburi Province to be free from dengue fever within 3 years. Also, there was an introduction of "RooTan" – a mobile application providing health knowledge and updated information about dengue-related issues nationwide.
"Although Thai people have known dengue fever for a long time, but the rate of infection and death still grow up each year." said Mr. Yuji Shimizu, President of Kao Industrial (Thailand) Co.,Ltd. "This is because communities lack of proper knowledge about the removal or permanent destruction of mosquito breeding sites. Therefore, we selected the three areas as they are densely populated and most vulnerable to the spread."
"Collaboration Project to reduce the spread of Dengue fever" is a campaign aiming at wiping out the mosquito-borne disease within three years, the key elements of project implementation include educating the public and human resource departments of participating companies in industrial areas about mosquitoes, their biology, personal protection, waste management, and ways of getting to reduce the number of dengue fever patients in those areas by setting the gold to be zero by 2024.
Mr.Viboon Kromadit, Director and CMO of Amata Corp PCL stated "The project resonates with Amata's policy to foster the quality of life of over 250,000 people living in Amata City developments across Thailand, along with the nearby locals. Integration of the RooTan application which enable to alert people to be aware of dengue fever and closely monitor the situation proves that technology isn't just for industrial developments but also for improving the quality of life. I believe that this project may build on our Smart City ideal whereby we are a role model for Amata Cities in Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar."
Likewise, Mr. Veeris Ammarapala, Governor of the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT), applauded the launch of the project. "Within a 5km radius of Amata City Chonburi is home to more than 181,879 people (as of December 31, 1820) and over 212 villages, IEAT finds it crucial to endorse this project in order to combat one of biggest health concerns in the country because this will ensure that the sustainable economic development of the industrial sector goes hand-in-hand with community livelihood and create a balance in terms of economy, society and environment to support each other."
Dr. Chantana Padungtod, M.D., The Division of Vector-Borne Disease (DVBD, gave an update as to the current spread of dengue. "Despite a satisfactory 80% decline in dengue spread during the new normal era, it is still fatal so we must stay alert at all times. While the premature death of children rate from dengue has been highest, since 2016 the mortality profile has shifted to adults and this is having grave repercussions on families, society, and the economy."
"As none of the developments of dengue vaccines and specific medical treatments have come to fruition, making the disease even more difficult to combat than Covid-19. Thus far, the best preventive measure would be to nip it in the bud by getting rid of mosquito larvae. DVBD is delighted with this collaboration and ensures that the great effort is expended on improving the quality of life for people who truly are the engine of the country's economic recovery." Miss Chantana added.
For RooTan apps to raise awareness of dengue fever, Dr. Chai Wutiwiwatchai, Ph.D., Executive Director of NECTEC, as the man behind this app, highlighted the collaboration between NECTEC and NSTDA to create 'TanRabad' software which has for the past five years supported healthcare workers' surveillance of dengue spread.
"RooTan application has branched out since 2020 into Android & IOS for public use. It enables to communicate health risks at the current location and other area of interest by risk situation, covering not just diseases spread, but other health-related issues such as updates on PM 2.5 concentrate, and a heat index relative to incidence of heat stroke, and others," he said.
In concluding the ASEAN Dengue Day event, Yuji Shimizu remarked that: "In pursuit of KAO's leading principles whereby we want to help people attain the best quality of life and enjoy good health, we are eager to endorse and fully support this important project. KAO hopes this reflects our resolve to do good deeds for a beautiful life which clearly demonstrates the intention to achieve health sustainability in Thai society. For this collaboration, we will be sure to follow up the work to fight the spread of dengue and expand the project so that we can eventually eradicate dengue altogether."