Maternal and Child Health Month

Dear Fellow Rotarians,

The Rotary International theme for April is Maternal and Child Health Month. However, the world is battling the coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic. We cannot ignore the gravity of this pandemic. Therefore, this month we will focus on COVID-19.

With respect to our RCB meetings, I believe everyone is aware that our Board of Directors approved to cancel the weekly meetings at the Grand Hyatt Erawan from 19 March to 16 April 2020. These meetings were cancelled to protect our members from potentially virus infection and to observe national health care campaigns, namely Social Distancing and Stay Home, Stop Virus Distribution, For Nation.

Further to those measures, the Thai government declared a State of Emergency on 26 March 2020. A number of official instructions followed. As you are aware, all non-essential shops are closed, travelling across city boundaries is restricted and subject to health checks, and overseas travel is prohibited or subject to strict controls. Accordingly, our members are staying home.

Although we are not able to meet in person, we were able to test our first virtual meeting using the Zoom App last Thursday. Rtn Hermes set up the Zoom App for us and it proved to be a successful online meeting. We expect to continue using this App to continue these informal meetings every Thursday at our regular time. Hopefully, these online meetings enable us to continue our weekly fellowship and exchange ideas, particularly regarding COVID-19 for as long as it remains urgent.

I am pleased that our members are deeply concerned about the situation. More than 20 members have donated an aggregate total of 762,000 Baht to support emergency response teams at public hospitals in Thailand with essential supplies to guard against COVID-19.

After brainstorming options, we initially want to focus on supporting the healthcare staff in hospitals serving patients. In many instances, the staff is experiencing a shortage of medical supplies to protect themselves from the virus.

PP Charles and Rtn Dr Win are working on the projects to find the materials for needy hospitals. So far, our Board has approved two projects:

• donating 10,000 surgical masks; and
• donating 170 personal protective equipment suits.

We will solicit more ideas for additional projects and invite our members to volunteer and sponsor.

Lastly, I hope the situation improves soon, and I wish all our members will remain healthy as we pass through this difficult time together. Please stay safe.

Yours in Rotary,
Pornchai Wessatada
President 2019-2020