Thailand's Remote Healthcare Model (02:46)
Hospitals recruit medical school graduates In Bangkok. In exchange for a state sponsored education, they must work in rural areas for three years. Doctors Nichi Garan and Suru Kyad hope to go to Mae Sot.
Medical Career Decisions (02:22)
Dr. Garan and Dr. Kyad draw lots to go to Mae Sot. Thailand's rural health program was established in 1968 in response to a "brain drain." Urban private hospitals compete with the public health system for doctors.
Mae Sot General Hospital (02:47)
New doctors will serve in Tak Province for three years; Mae Sot serves four rural districts and 290,000 people. Director Dr. Wong Lee Wat explains goals of the residency program. Second year interns provide survival tips for the newcomers.
Universal Healthcare Model (02:26)
Dr. Bun began diagnosing patients immediately upon starting his residency. Infectious diseases are rife in border regions, including drug resistant TB. Under Thailand's system, hospitals receive $85 per person in their district—costing the government half the global average.
Medical Intern Rotation (02:32)
Dr. Sing Ha is from Mae Sot. He wants to help people; more doctors are needed in public hospitals. After one year, second year interns are placed in more remote hospitals while incoming recruits take their place.
Thailand's Preventative Health Program (03:05)
Dr. Sing Ha is apprehensive about joining a remote district hospital in Tak Province. Dr. Chirapong runs a mobile doctor unit. His team sees 120 patients in Huai Nam Yen village.
Basic Health Outposts (02:14)
Most of Thailand's rural primary healthcare is done by locally recruited nurses, supplemented by mobile doctor units. Dr. Chirapong removes a growth in a patient's mouth. Infant mortality rates and malaria incidences have fallen.
First Day of Residency (03:45)
Dr. Kyad consults diabetes patients. An aging population made implementing universal healthcare challenging. Dr. Garan is assigned to the emergency room, and loses a patient.
Culture Shock (03:25)
Newly graduated doctors provide care to Thailand's rural population of 34 million. Dr. Ha arrives at his new assignment, a remote hospital. Many patients cannot speak Thai; infectious diseases are a challenge.
Umphang District Hospital (02:52)
Dr. Worawit came to Thailand's remote area with the rural healthcare program 23 years ago. With limited beds, he focuses on prevention. One project trains tribal midwives on safe delivery methods, lowering stillbirth and maternal mortality rates.
Umphang's Young Doctors (02:11)
Dr. Worawit used the Thai government's rural program to build a modern hospital treating all patients for free. Dr. Apichaya is finishing her third year of residency; medical school graduates have to gain confidence quickly.
Financial Challenges (02:42)
Hospital budgets should be allocated based on populations served, but many hill tribes and migrants lack state identification. Doctors never turn patients away; Dr. Worawit solicits donations from public and private organizations to cover extra costs.
Specialization Sponsorship (03:51)
The Thai government introduced pay incentives to keep young doctors in rural areas after three year internships. In exchange for specialization training, doctors must remain at their sponsor hospital. Dr. Rachitipor specialized in pediatrics, but works far from her home town.
Critical Patient (05:07)
Dr. Apichaya and Dr. Kahn are the only doctors on duty. A pregnant woman comes in with preeclampsia and heart failure; they revive her but cannot risk an emergency cesarean section. They send her to Mae Sot—4 hours away.
Retaining Rural Doctors (03:55)
Approximately three quarters of rural health program graduates return to cities within 10 years. Socializing helps Dr. Ha's homesickness. Dr. Kyad is getting used to exhaustion and plans to stay in the public sector; Dr. Garan is undecided about her future. A preeclampsia patient and her baby survive.
Credits: Thailand’s Remote Lifesavers: The People’s Health (00:31)
Credits: Thailand’s Remote Lifesavers: The People’s Health
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