JAMBOREE: Free Condoms For Visiting Boy Scouts

by Nation Multi-Media, Bangkok Thailand

Published on Dec 24, 2002

The Public Health Ministry plans to hand out free condoms to scouts who request them during the World Scout Jamboree in Chon Buri from Saturday till January 7.

The ministry's inspector general Dr Pipat Yingseri yesterday revealed that condoms will be on supply at the jamboree as reports of participants engaging in sex had emerged from past jamborees.

"We've talked about this issue from the very beginning, but we didn't want to publicise it as we feared the publicity may encourage more people to do it," Pipat said.

Despite control measures, it was still possible for some couples to engage in sexual activity at the event, he said.

"So please ask for condoms if you need some. Or please buy them from nearby convenience shops," he said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Public Health Minister Pracha Phromnok said that the country's hot and humid weather was probably the major health concern for jamboree participants.

"I am worried for the scouts from European countries as they may suffer from heat exhaustion and may even faint due to the heat," he said.

He was speaking during an inspection of Sattahip's Hadyao beach to determine whether health-related preparations were ready.

Pracha said booklets would be handed out to the scouts advising them to drink plenty of water and rest when feeling tired. He also urged the scouts to use sun block to prevent sunburn.

"This is a tropical zone and the scouts will expose themselves a lot to the sun while doing outdoor activities," he added.

As for other preparations, Pracha said the Public Health Ministry had sprayed chemicals during the last two months to eradicate flies, mosquitoes and gnats at the site. "The chemical spraying is conducted every five days and will be done again in the next few days," he added.

Flytraps would be installed around the jamboree's campsite as well, he said.

Random checks on samples have found that food, fruits and water are contamination-free, Pracha said.

His ministry would operate a field hospital at the campground to provide full medical services to the scouts, he said.

Ambulances would also be available as it is estimated that there will be up to 1,000 patients a day during the event. Five large polyclinics in the area would be open round-the-clock to cater to the medical needs of the scouts.

Deputy Education Minister Pongpol Adireksarn said scouts from some foreign countries had already arrived in Thailand.