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THE KUVANANT FOUNDATION LIVER FLUKE INITIATIVE

04 June 2012

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Press Briefing

THE KUVANANT FOUNDATION LIVER FLUKE INITIATIVE

The Kuvanant Foundation, in cooperation with Columbia University from the United States and Khon Kaen University, is sponsoring the launch of a highly innovative initiative to change the current trajectory of Liver Fluke infestation in Northeastern Thailand.

Currently it is estimated that there are over 8,000,000 people suffering from Liver Fluke Disease, most of which display no symptoms. Ingested primarily from raw or improperly cooked fish, this is the leading cause of liver cancer in Thailand.

Environmental interruption strategies were, on the whole, ineffective. Assessment and referral for treatment prove marginally successful but given the very high presence of the parasite in some regions, treatment alone offers only a temporary and partial benefit.

Educational strategies have demonstrated the greatest success and promise of lasting benefit. Recognizing this fact and looking to produce a better outcome for the people of Thailand, the decision was made to look to the future.

This exciting and creative program will place its focus on one of our most precious assets, Thailand’s children. Recognizing that previous educational efforts were primarily focused on adults, this initiative will create an animated and interactive relationship with the children. Characters that will be featured in animated films, children’s books, songs and educational outreach efforts will all combine to create an awareness in this generation’s children so that as they grow into those that will lead our country, they grow with the knowledge of how to avoid this disease.

These materials and programs will be distributed to all schools in the afflicted areas. The use of 21st century technology will allow a much greater coverage and result that ever before.

Building on previous research, this program is designed in three phases. The creation phase, which is now complete. The implementation phase, which is being launched today will begin with focus groups at Khon Kaen University. These will develop the strategies that will be utilized in surveying for the existing level of awareness in the region. This will include both adults and children’s awareness.

This information will be included in all of the materials being developed and will be formally presented by live performances during the month of August. These live presentations will include medical professionals to support the animated educational efforts.

Once the implementation phase is complete in 27 August 2013, the follow up phase will continue for three years to ensure continuity.

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