The OpisthorchisViverrini and a War of Healing in Thai Society

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ทุติยาภรณ์ ภูมิดอนมิ่ง
ทวีศักดิ์ เผือกสม

Abstract

This essay aims to study the founding of the OpisthorchisViverrini disease to be a clinical pathology in Thailand, and its justification that needed diagnosis and healing, including how a social issue such as cultural foods became health concern. It would begin with the emergence of a parasitology textbook in the Royal Medical College at Siriraj in 1914, before its evolution into a major in the department of Pathology after the college’s curriculum was reformed with the assistance of the Rockefeller Foundation in the 1920s, until a discovery of the OpisthorchisViverrini’s life-cycle that became a justification to instituting, preventing and healing the OpisthorchisViverrini disease with the western modern bio-chemical medicine, i.e. the Praziquantel.              Arguably, the international organizations such as the Rockefeller Foundation had a crucial role in instituting the OpisthorchisViverrini disease and its endemic enclave in Thai society, obviously arranging through the Royal Medical College, until it became an ideal mode of the social campaign for disease prevention and healing. It is apparent that this mode of knowledge inculcating and disease healing with the western modern science to embattle with the OpisthorchisViverrini disease, that was posited as an endemic disease in a specific local enclave and could be traditionally controlled and healed with local botanical herbs, has eventually transformed the Thai society to be dependent with the bio-chemical medicine and the modern medical industry that mainly operated by the state.

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