Ministry of Public Health indicates that Thai children, especially in the rural area, have lower IQ. It also urges that parents should accelerate child development by “Eat-Hug-Play-Decrease TV watching and Decrease Game playing”

           
 
 
           The grade1 students’ IQ-EQ survey conducted by Ministry of Public Health in 2014 revealed that all of the Thai children have normal EQ, but the rural children’s IQ is lower than the one of the urban children. The cause of this lower IQ is due to the lack of love and warmth in families. Thus the parents, the guardians, and the care takers should improve the children’s IQ-EQ by an easy method called “Eat-Hug-Play-Decrease TV watching and Decrease Game playing” 
 
      On 27th May, 2015 at Ministry of Public Health, Professor Dr.Ratchata Ratchatanawin, the Minister of Public Health, and Dr.Jessada Chokdamrongsuk, the Director General of Department of Mental Health, made a press. They told that Ministry of Public Health had conducted an IQ-EQ survey in 4,929 grade1 primary school students in Thailand in 2014. The result indicated that the average IQ of grade1 students is 93.1. Thai children’s mean IQ is lower than it used to be in the year 2011, which is 94 points. For the world standard IQ, it is 100. They also found that the urban children have higher IQ than the rural children, yet both of them have normal EQ.
 
            Professor Dr.Ratchata said that the children’s IQ which is important for learning process, is partially related with love and warmth in families. The other factors involved include the methods of developmental intervention, nutrition, and toys that enhanced child development. The rural children have these factors less than the urban children. Thus the Ministry of Public Health would like to make all Thai children to have both good intelligence and social skills through the Thai Child Development Project in order to celebrate Her Royal Highness Princess Mahachakri Sirindhorn in her 60th year of birth. This project will emphasis on the parents’ role in enhancing children development. Besides, the health volunteers and staff of health promotion hospitals in sub district will take care of the risk groups such as the low birth weight children, the oxygen deprived children during birth, and the children who have social risk factors, especially the group that doesn’t live with their parents. This project will integrate all of the involved organizations that work for children since they are in wombs until they are 5 years old. Moreover, it will prepare the children to get ready to transfer to school age.
 
They also said that there are 3 strategies to develop IQ-EQ which are 
1. Making cooperation between the all health service levels and all child centers in the same area.
2. Promoting all families and child centers to raise children by emphasizing in “Eat, Hug, Play together, Fable, Decrease watching TV and Decrease game playing”. Let the children have enough food in order to get proper nutrition according to their age. By hugging, the children could realize love and warmth. Through play, the children are promoted their proper development, as well as fabling would enhance them to create and have imagination which develops their brain cells.
3. Increasing channels to access simple child development data.
 
         For the child and adolescent situation continuous analysis since 2013, Dr.Jetsada said that there are 3 situations that affected the children’s IQ. The first one is the children have less opportunity to live with their families. Only 62 percent of the children live with both parents. Fourteen percent live with fathers or mothers because of different working areas of their parents (49%), parents depart or divorce (32%), and the death of their parents (8%).
 
         The second situation is the children are leaved with the elders or skip generation which means there are only a child and the elderly in each family. There are 1.4 million families like this in rural areas which are 6 percent of all families in Thailand. The studies abroad found that the children who are raised by grand parents are educational disadvantage than the children who live with parents because they don’t have proper developmental intervention according to their age.
The last situation is about the quality of preschool children education. From the survey, they found that 73 percent of the children of age 3-4 years old are in pre school program at nurseries, child centers, or schools. The highest record of having children in school is 82 percent in the Northern part of Thailand. The quality of education in child centers is one of the factors that help child development.
 
Dr.Jetsada added that the Department of Mental Health will accelerate implementation on problem prevention and IQ-EQ promotion in 3 levels.
1. Promoting child development in all levels of public health service units.
2. Promoting child preparation before going to school in both reading and calculating skills through proper raising and playing. There have to be tools that families can use with child to promote child development.
3. Screening for learning problems, concentration, autistic, and behavioral and emotional problems in order to help these children. These problems are found in 15 percent of grade1 children in primary schools. The teachers are expected to screen and give an initial support. However, if the teachers can’t help, they can refer the children to public health systems. This is the important program which the Department of Mental Health is working to cover both urban and rural areas. Moreover, they will increase child and psychiatric nurses in all community hospitals to be the major health personnel to take care of these groups of children.
          Parents can download child developmental promotion data from the Department of Mental Health website at www.dmh.go.th or Rajanukul Institute website at www.rajanukul.go.th or make a call at the hotline numbers 1667 or 1323 to consult with professional staff. 
 
 
 
 
 

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