(NNT) – Public hospitals across Thailand have been instructed to prepare for an anticipated increase in respiratory problems, with air pollution levels expected to rise in the coming weeks. The Ministry of Public Health issued the directive in response to a surge in ultra-fine PM2.5 particle levels in several areas of Bangkok, including Lat Krabang, Thon Buri, Bang Na, and others, where concentrations exceeded 37.5 microgrammes per cubic meter on Sunday (Dec 24).
Permanent Secretary for Public Health Dr Opas Karnkawinpong said a high-pressure system from China is expected to cause pollutants to accumulate over Greater Bangkok, the Central Plains, the North, and the Northeast. Provinces likely to be affected include Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phayao, Lampang, Udon Thani, Sakon Nakhon, and others.
Hospitals under the Ministry of Public Health are being asked to prepare for increased patient admissions due to air pollution-related health issues. The ministry is accelerating the deployment of telemedicine services to assist vulnerable groups, such as children, pregnant women, the elderly, individuals with chronic health conditions, and outdoor workers. Air pollution is known to cause respiratory diseases, heart and vascular issues, conjunctivitis, and skin problems.
The ministry has also set up Public Health Emergency Operations Centers in Phitsanulok, Nonthaburi, Sing Buri, and Samut Sakhon to enhance healthcare access during this period. These measures aim to mitigate the health impact of deteriorating air quality in the country.