Nan man named 'Rural Doc of the Year'
A doctor from Nan who has dedicated himself to curing patients in the remote areas of the province has been selected for the Outstanding Rural Doctor of the Year award.
Kitissak Kasetsinsombat, director of the Pua Crown Prince Hospital in Nan, has been named the 45th recipient of the award, defeating six candidates in the final round.
To receive the award, the outstanding rural doctor must have contributed to public health services for at least five years, according to Prasit Watanapa, the dean of Mahidol University's Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital.
"Rural doctors sacrifice more than one-third of their lives to people in remote areas, so the award is granted to recognise his or her exemplary role and inspire other medical professionals and students," Dr Prasit told the ceremony.
Dr Kitissak said he has been working in the Pua district of Nan province for almost 20 years.
His longstanding dedication to rural healthcare dates back to his period of study at Prince of Songkla University.
"As a medical student, I enjoyed working in rural areas," he told reporters. "My parents and relatives live in Prachuap Khiri Khan. However, after graduation, I chose to work in Nan and told them later. Fortunately, they supported me.
"I will retire in the next six years, but I will continue to work with my team in the Pua Crown Prince Hospital because there are many difficulties," he said.
That includes a limited budget and facilities, and a high patient workload.
As a mid-level medical centre, the Pua Crown Prince Hospital takes care of 45,000 people under the universal healthcare coverage scheme.
"In the past, we shouldered a heavy debt burden, and no matter how much we invested it was not enough to cover the deficit.
"Out of 125 patient beds, 105 were already occupied. We had a risk score of seven. It was the most critical stage for us as a hospital," he said.
"I talked to the staff and urged them to economise. Then, our hospital managed to buy the necessary facilities and pay salaries, so things started to improve."