Fukushima report Vol.2: Preparing for Fukushima-based clinic
A few members of the Fukushima Network and volunteer doctors have been preparing for the establishment of a Fukushima-based clinic. The fund-raising committee for building the clinic kicked off in January 2012 in order to check the health condition of children who decided to stay inside of Fukushima after the
nuclear disaster. The clinic will cover pediatrics, internal medicine, psychosomatic medicine and cancer treatment.
On September 1 a provisional consultation day took place at 2 different sites in Fukushima, at Miyashiro Temporary Housing Area for the refugees from the villages near the power plants and at an office near Fukushima Station.
Miyashiro Temporary Housing Area, located in the northern part of Fukushima City, is utilized mainly by elderly residents who evacuated from Namie Town (20km away from the Fukushima Daiichi NPP). According to the doctor from Fukushima Clinic, the consultation was held not only to examine the symptoms of these patients, but to hear the residents' concerns and difficulties of living in temporary houses. In the consultation, most of the residents confessed that they had moved through at least 6 different refuges before they arrived at Miyashiro temporal houses. Due to the stress caused by the drastic changes in the environments surrounding the elderly residents, many of them had faced the deterioration of their health or the emergence of symptoms they never experienced, including insomnia, cough, high blood pressure and hives. Almost all of the patients reported extreme anxiety and uncertainty regarding their future, due to uncomfortable housing conditions and the instability they have been experiencing since the nuclear disaster.
Another consultation was held at an office near Fukushima Station, organised mainly for the children. The main concern of the Fukushima mothers is the condition of the thyroid glands of their children. Ultrasound thyroid gland function testing was conducted by the Fukushima local government beginning in May. However, the results of the testing were not shared with the general public nor were individual results shared with the Fukushima parents even after the test. Most of the parents visiting the Fukushima Clinic asked the doctors for second opinions regarding the results of their children's thyroid gland function test. These doctors are concerned that the thyroid gland data from Fukushima children was collected only for academic study and experiment, not for protecting the children from the emergence of thyroid cancer.
Supplementary reading- article from Business Insider