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Pattani doctor wins top honour for service in rural area

DR NIRAN Witchasetsamit, director of Pattani's Ma Yor Hospital, was yesterday named the 2013 Outstanding Rural Doctor by Mahidol University's Medical School at Siriraj Hospital.

The 45-year-old Nonthaburi native, who has devoted the past 19 years since graduating from Mahidol to serving the three southernmost provinces, said he hopes to help bring peace to the restless region via the good public-health system.

Dean Udom Kachintorn said Siriraj has conferred the award every year since 1973 to honour and support a physician whose outstanding work sets a good example for public health development in rural areas.

Dr Anupan Tantiwong, chairman of the awards committee, said that out of the 14 nominees this year, 11 were selected for onsite visits and interviews with co-workers and patients before Niran was chosen for the title, which came with an honour plaque and Bt180,000 cash prize.

Niran was recognised for his life-long dedication in working in the violent outlying areas.

Niran turned that dangerous situation into an opportunity to develop communications procedures, holistic healthcare practices and remedial treatments for the community and hospital staff.

This also promoted peaceful coexistence in the neighbourhood, the committee said.

Niran was grateful to his seniors for inspiring him to follow in their footsteps and make a difference in rural people's lives. He thanked his parents for giving him wisdom and letting him fully serve society.

While appreciating the credit given to rural practitioners, he said there were many rural people but a lot fewer doctors than in urban areas, so rural doctors must stand firm to ensure patients' access to medical care.

"I don't want to move out because the region's condition lets me see the value of the medical profession amid a crisis. I believe in the peace that is brought about via the healthcare system because medical staff can access both sides.

"We treat everyone the best we can with equity... I want the medical profession to heal society and bring about peace," he added.


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