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Tuesday 24 October 2017

Thailand marks Valentine's Day with pills to help women become pregnant

Pills containing folic acid and iron are handed to couples waiting to sign their marriage certificates in Bangkok (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Pills containing folic acid and iron are handed to couples waiting to sign their marriage certificates in Bangkok (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

The Thai government is handing out pills to prospective mothers on Valentine's Day in the hope of boosting the country's falling birthrate.

Government employees took to the streets of Bangkok on Tuesday to distribute 1 million baht's worth (£22,800) of prenatal vitamins containing folic acid and iron to women between the ages of 20 and 34.

The giveaway is part of a programme called "the campaign for red-cheeked Thai women to have children for the country using very magical vitamins".

Thai couples are getting married less often and later in their lives, meaning fewer children each year.

"The Thai way of life is changing," said Dr Wachira Pengjuntr, director of the health department.

"Thai women are receiving higher education and the newer generation are placing a higher value on being single."

Thailand's population grew only 0.4% in 2015, down from 2.7% in 1970.

If this trend continues, the annual Thai population growth will be down to 0% in a decade, Dr Wachira said.

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