Scheme aims to give first-aid training to monks

Scheme aims to give first-aid training to monks

Monks receive alms in Udon Thani province. (File photo)
Monks receive alms in Udon Thani province. (File photo)

The Ministry of Public Health and Praboromarajchanok Institute will work together to provide first-aid training to monks across the country under the "One Temple, One Caretaker Monk" scheme, to mark the Supreme Patriarch's 96th birthday this year.

The Supreme Patriarch oversaw the launch of the scheme during a visit to Wat Phra Sri Mahathat in Bangkok's Bang Khen district on Monday, which was attended by hundreds of monks from all over the country, as well as ministry and institute officials.

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, said the campaign was launched after the ministry found that a significant number of the nation's monks are suffering from serious health problems.

"Our survey found that 28.5% of monks polled by the ministry suffer from non-communicable diseases, such as cancer, respiratory infections, diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney problems," he said.

"Furthermore, many don't have capable caretakers who can look after them once they finish their treatment rounds at the hospital."

As such, he said, the government wants to equip 9,360 monks nationwide with basic first-aid skills through a five-day training course that would be organised between this month and June.

"We expect to see at least one monk acting as a caretaker in each temple across the country, so monks who aren't healthy can live a better life," he said.

The Supreme Patriarch praised the government for the scheme, saying the Buddha himself provided medical treatments to monks who are ill in the absence of help from other sources.

"Lord Buddha once preached that a monk should never leave anyone behind, and training monks to perform valuable skills such as first aid is a good act," he said.

Vichai Tienthavorn, president of Praboramrajchanok Institute, said that basic first aids skills training will include cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and wound treatment.

Separately, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said a committee has been formed to prepare the celebrations for the Supreme Patriarch's birthday, which falls on June 26. The Supreme Patriarch Ariyavongsagatanana will turn 96. He became the kingdom's 20th Supreme Patriarch in 2017.

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