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Study uncovers need for better migrant registry

The Nation - 28 September 2012. On Wednesday, the HSRI, Mahidol University's Institute for Population and Social Research, Silpakorn University's anthropology department and the Programme for Appropriate Technology in Health (Path) presented their research results on the estimated migrant population and their assessment of migrant mother and child care in Bangkok.

SAOWANEE NIMPANPAYUNGWONG

In 19 Bangkok districts, 21 areas are densely populated by Myanmar, Cambodian and Laotian migrant workers, and up to 72 per cent of their pregnancies were unplanned, according to a Health Systems Research Institute study.

The authorities need to reform migrant registration systems, as they do not reflect reality, the HSRI has urged.

 

On Wednesday, the HSRI, Mahidol University's Institute for Population and Social Research, Silpakorn University's anthropology department and the Programme for Appropriate Technology in Health (Path) presented their research results on the estimated migrant population and their assessment of migrant mother and child care in Bangkok.

 

Kritiya Achawanijjakul of the Institute for Population and Social Research said that based on the National Statistical Office's census data, Myanmar, Cambodian and Laotian workers were concentrated in about 21 locations in Bangkok.

 

The team found 1,910 migrants mostly aged 15-49, with children under 15 representing 5.7 per cent of the total. Some 88 per cent of all migrants had migrant cards while 11 per cent had no card and lived illegally. About 69 per cent of the total, or 1,261 people, had health insurance, while 559 didn't.

 

Kritiya said migrant-population data were scattered among the National Statistical Office's household census, Foreign Workers Administration's migrant registration and Provincial Administration Department's migrant registration, but these agencies had limitations.

 

In the case of the Provincial Administration Department, it had cumulative statistics on migrant workers allowed to stay on a year-by-year basis and those who underwent the national identification process. However, there were no follow-up data on whether these workers were still in Thailand or had returned to their home countries. The real figure was unknown, she said. The government should set up a proper census system for migrants.

 

This is important because under the Asean Economic Community arriving in less than three years, when products, services and workers will flow freely across the region, more and more migrant workers will enter Thailand to stay in the inner cities, Kritiya said. The government should give priority to the migrant census as a database for administration, especially of healthcare services, she added.

 

Path official Thassanai Khantayaporn said it had also collected health information from 475 women, mostly from Myanmar with legal papers. Since 72 per cent had conceived because of improper use of birth-control pills and 18 per cent because of improper birth-control injections, the women weren't prepared to have kids. They still had to work hard for a daily wage and taking a day off meant no money.

 

The women said they went for maternal care to the eight Bangkok hospitals providing health security services to migrants to ensure a place to give birth because several hospitals didn't provide delivery services to those who didn't receive maternal care from the hospitals first.

 

However, 55 infants weighed less than the 2,500-gram standard because their mothers had to work hard throughout pregnancy. Many newborns were sent back to the workers' relatives at home. Companies were offering transport services for children for Bt3,000-Bt6,000, compared with Bt14,500 for adults.

 

A Bang Prakok 9 Hospital nurse said 200-250 migrants sought treatment at the hospital a day and about 150 infants of migrant parents were born there a month. Many were small and needed to be kept in the incubator for days.

 

She urged the government to develop a better system to support the migrant workers.

 

Source: http://nationmultimedia.com/national/Study-uncovers-need-for-better-migrant-registry-30191290.html

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