Rotary District 3340 Governor Dr. Jareesri Kunsiripunyo led a delegation of Rotarians to Banglamung Hospital on September 8 to present two Powered Air-Purifying Respirators (PAPR) for use by hospital personnel to protect themselves while treating Covid-19 patients.
Accompanying District Governor Jareesri to the hospital were Assistant District Governor PP Vutikorn Kamolchote, President Dr. Olivier Meyer from the Rotary Club Pattaya Marina, and Vice President Jana Keightley of the Rotary Club of Jomtien-Pattaya, along with a delegation of members from their respective clubs.
District Governor Jareesri Kunsiripunyo said, “During these past two years the Covid-19 pandemic has caused a lot of suffering to millions of people in the world and our own country was not spared. We are seeing tens of thousands of people dying and hundreds of thousands infected by this dreadful virus.
“Rotary’s principles and ideals of service are to help people in need in seven areas of focus, which include Peace and Conflict Prevention/Resolution, Disease Prevention and Treatment, Water and Sanitation, Maternal and Child Health, Basic Education and Literacy, Economic and Community Development, and the Environment.
“Ever since the Covid-19 pandemic hit humanity, Rotary has taken a leading role amongst the many service and humanitarian organisations all over the world to help fight and prevent the spread of this dreaded virus.
“Fighting disease is one of Rotary’s main objectives,” she said, “so Rotary members already support efforts to promote proper hand washing techniques, teach people other ways to stay healthy, and supply training and vital medical equipment to health care providers. Now we’re helping health authorities communicate lifesaving Covid-19 information and donating protective gear and other supplies to clinics and hospitals that are under strain because of the pandemic.
“Hospitals in Thailand lack medical supplies and equipment, not only for the patients but also to protect the doctors, nurses and health workers.
“Most of the rural hospitals do not have the budget to buy this protective gear and have to work under extreme pressure, not to mention health risks by being close to infected patients.”
DG Jessie continued, “I decided to ask all the clubs in Rotary District 3340 to help fulfil this urgent need by donating 13,000 baht to purchase at least one PAPR unit each, so we could distribute them to hospitals that really need them.
“I am most thankful to all the Rotary clubs in District 3340 including the Rotary Clubs of Pattaya Marina and Jomtien-Pattaya for their generosity in donating one PAPR each.”
Dr. Olivier Meyer, President of the Rotary Club Pattaya Marina said, “The duty of a hospital is to treat patients. In case of communicable diseases, it is also vital to protect the doctors, nurses and all the medical staff who come in contact with infected patients.
“The Rotary Club of Pattaya Marina and many other Rotary clubs in District 3340 bought and donated these PAPR devices to help protect hospital staff who are in contact with Covid-19 patients by breathing clean air.
“This a community humanitarian project of our Rotary Club and we will continue to support such projects among the many other service projects we do in our communities.”
Vice President Jana Keightley of the Rotary Club of Jomtien-Pattaya said, “It is a really moving experience to represent our club today to present a PAPR unit to the hospital. This is a very difficult time for all of us, most especially for the patients and the nurses who are risking their own lives to save them.”
VP Jana continued, “I felt saddened as I came up to this presentation room, because I saw many patients who are confined to temporary plastic protection units, which made me grasp the seriousness of this life-threatening virus. I pray that they will all get better and go home to their families soon.
“During the handover, we met Dr. Ratchata Chatratichart and Mrs. Achara Prasobsin, the head nurse, who supervised the demonstration on the use of the PAPR units by the manufacturers and technicians. The medical staff confirmed that the units worked very well and were effective. We truly appreciated the new found knowledge about this life-saving medical equipment.”
Jana concluded by saying, “It is a really good feeling to know that Rotarians are playing a vital part in helping to fight Covid-19 and saving lives.”
DG Jareesri gave an insight on what the standpoint of Rotary is in regards to Covid-19. “The Covid-19 coronavirus is affecting every aspect of our lives in real time, and this puts Rotarians in an unfamiliar place. As people of action, we are most comfortable when we are fully engaged in the world – moving freely, meeting openly, and offering helping hands. These are very difficult times for people who, like us, are at our best when we are learning, growing, and serving to change lives, together.”
Footnote: A powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR) is a type of respirator used to safeguard workers against contaminated air. PAPRs consist of a headgear-and-fan assembly that takes ambient air contaminated with one or more types of pollutant or pathogen, actively removes (filters) a sufficient proportion of these hazards, and then delivers the clean air to the user’s face or mouth and nose. They have a higher assigned protection factor than filtering face-piece respirators such as N95 masks. PAPRs are sometimes called positive-pressure masks, blower units, or just blowers.