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Windward Rotarians Help Northern Thais Take A Deep Breath

Thai Rotarians welcomed the Windward Oahu Rotary Club contingent at Chiangmai Airport as they arrive to complete a charity mission. The Windward group includes (from left) Brigitte Visser (in yellow), member Lori Williams and husband Jim behind her (in red), member Craig Lockwood (aloha shirt), member Murray Visser (in blue) and member Joe Barboo (in white). Photo from Murray Visser.

Thai Rotarians welcomed the Windward Oahu Rotary Club contingent at Chiangmai Airport as they arrive to complete a charity mission. The Windward group includes (from left) Brigitte Visser (in yellow), member Lori Williams and husband Jim behind her (in red), member Craig Lockwood (aloha shirt), member Murray Visser (in blue) and member Joe Barboo (in white). Photo from Murray Visser.

Imagine the health consequences of smoking 400 cigarettes. For people who live in northern Thailand, one hour of cooking in poor ventilation over a wood fire has the same effect.

As Windward Oahu Rotary Club members learned, couple this with rampant pesticide use, unfiltered cigarettes and pollution, and you find a region suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The Lanikai club resolved to do something to help, spearheaded by its international chairman Murray Visser. Working together with Rotary International and Rotary Club of Kaneohe, as well as four other clubs on Oahu and in Thailand, they raised $33,598 in grant money for Lampang Hospital to purchase 74 modern oxygen concentrators. That’s enough to treat 222 patients.

“The new equipment is lightweight, and thus portable, and it’s to be used at the homes of the patients,” reported Visser, now club president. “Another advantage is that it frees up 74 hospital beds for patients who have other illnesses.”

The new concentrators replaced the hospital’s iron canisters, which had enough oxygen to last only a few days.

The staff at Lampang must now maintain the concentrators, train families in their use and advise them on preventing and controlling COPD. In November 2013, four WORC members visited Thailand, met with their Doiprabaht Rotarian counterparts and visited Lampang Hospital in northern Thailand.

The club meets at noon Thursdays at Mid-Pacific Country Club. For more information, visit windwardrotary.org.

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