50% of Buddhist monks in poor health


BANGKOK, 6 June 2011 – Over half of Buddhist monks and novices in Thailand are found to be in poor health while authorities are trying hard to provide more healthcare services to them.

According to Health Department Director-General Medical Doctor Somyos Deerasamee, the department conducted a survey with 350,000 Buddhist monks and novices nationwide. 55% of them are at risk of getting diseases and some have already been ill.

The survey showed that one third of them are suffering from sickness while some of them have never undergone any physical health examination.

The major cause of poor health is that monks cannot choose what to eat as they have to take food offered by people. At the same time, their cleric status does not allow them to take exercise, which puts them at health risks.

The authorities are hence promoting monasteries as health centres of communities as a way to provide monks with greater access to health services. At least one temple is being developed for that purpose in each district. A total of 2,366 monasteries have already been developed as community health centres while provincial sangha administrative networks will be supporting the mission.