March 4, 2021, at the Conference Room of Nongkungsri District Public Health Office – the Cholangiocarcinoma Research Institute, Khon Kaen University, led by Prof. Dr. Narong Khanteekaew, M.D., Director of the Institute and his team joined the meeting to determine the approaches for eradicating liver fluke and cholangiocarcinoma at Nongkungsri District, Kalasin. Mr. Somdee Khottasaeng, Public Health Officer of Nongkungsri District presided over the meeting.
The meeting agendum included the finding of approaches for participatory and integrated implementation to solve the problems of liver fluke disease and cholangiocarcinoma in Nongkungsri District. This Nongkungsri Model is a collaboration between KKU and the Quality of Life Development Committee of the District. Over 20 people attended the meeting. The common goals were to reduce the number of patients with liver fluke disease and screen the patients with the diseases so that they receive treatment as soon as possible. The project will be in operation in the area for 3 years.
Prof. Dr. Narong Khanteekaew, M.D., Director of the Cholangiocarcinoma Research Institute said, “The Institute has been working on solving the problems related to liver fluke disease and cholangiocarcinoma in an integrated style. The project is called “The District Model”. Our attempts are to decrease the cases of liver fluke infection by campaigning and building awareness all over the area as well as to screen the risk group by means of ultrasound so that the first-stage patients can receive operation, which, in turn, will increase the rate of survival. The operation can be conducted at the area. Nongkungsri District is one among the model areas. The Institute has been allocated an amount of budget from the National Research Council and has been cooperating with the members of the Population Health Area 7 and the network organizations. The results of the research studies for solving the problems of liver fluke disease and cholangiocarcinoma have been applied in this regard, with participation of the people in the locality. The implementation also responds to Khon Kaen University’s ideal in being a university with dedication to assist the society, solve the social problems and upgrade the quality of life of the people in Isan region. When the quality of life is improved, the mortality rate from cholangiocarcinoma is expected to be minimized.
Eradication of liver fluke disease and cholangiocarcinoma cannot be done by the state alone, but requires collaboration from the network and relevant sectors to help solve the problems. Implementation at hospitals or by the health professionals is not sufficient to do away with the problems. All sectors concerned must solve the problem together, from the upstream toward the downstream levels. The spread of the disease must be decreased from water sources. The liver fluke must be eradicated from the reservoir animals, by provision of safe foods, increasing intellectual immunity among the youth, managing health information systematically so that information is traceable, screening and giving medical treatment from the start in order to increase access to medical care and to increase the quality of life of the patients, all of which will sustainably reduce socio-economic losses of the country.