Rotary clubs from 3 nations bring 30 new beds to Sattahip Km.10 Hospital

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Rotary clubs in Thailand, Norway and South Korea came together to bring 30 new beds and equipment to Sattahip Km.10 Hospital.

Acting hospital director Dr. Sukit Pungketsunthorn welcomed Rotary District 3340 Gov. Vivat Pipatchaisiri and members of the Rotary clubs of Plutaluang and Chonburi, Norway’s Hunn Gjovik and South Korea’s Gwangju to the 60-bed facility June 26.

The 1.5-million-baht donation included not only patient beds, but supporting equipment and furniture, including volume-control administration sets, food tables, nightstands, and cabinets.

As part of their matching donation, Helge Holst and his wife Brita present hospital director Dr. Sukit Pungketsunthorn with a picture of the Norwegian ship Skibladner.As part of their matching donation, Helge Holst and his wife Brita present hospital director Dr. Sukit Pungketsunthorn with a picture of the Norwegian ship Skibladner.

The project is the brainchild of former Norwegian club president Helge Holst and his wife Brita who in 2013 suggested a matching-grant donation with a Plutaluang Rotarian. The idea was to supply a government hospital with beds and supporting equipment.

It took a couple of attempts over the next two years, but through the Rotary’s Global Matching Grant program the donation was finally set with the four clubs jointly funding the purchase. Holst said he put 50,000 baht of his own money toward the beds.

Benefactors and recipients gather for a group photo during the presentation.Benefactors and recipients gather for a group photo during the presentation.

“Everybody can be proud of the Rotarians who worked together and never gave up a project we all believed in,” he said.

Sattahip Km.10 hospital began life as a community clinic in 1975 and was upgraded to a 30-bed hospital in 1992. In 2003 it was upgraded again to a 60-bed facility, but has been stressed by the growth in Sattahip District.

Despite the 2003 construction of a four-story facility, the hospital still had lots of unused space, due to lack of equipment.

“For us, it was a bit difficult to understand; a new wing, but no beds! We understood the Thai health system does not work as our system in Norway” and wanted to help, he said.

The hospital now has a staff of 254, including seven doctors, eight dentists, nine pharmacists, 100 nurses and 129 other staffers. It admitted 3,243 patients in 2014 and treated another 106,317 on an outpatient basis last year.

“This is not our first project in Thailand,’ Holst said, noting Brita and he came to Thailand for the first time in 1979 before eventually retiring here.

He said he previously had four disabled Thais join the International Rotary Handicapped program in Norway and, in 2005, organized his first matching grant for school equipment in Nakhon Phanom.

Holst presented the hospital with a picture of the Norwegian ship Skibladner. The 158-year-old vessel, still in use, is a symbol of longevity and community cooperation to keep it afloat.

“Brita and I hope you will be able to find an empty wall for it,” he told Sukit. “I hope will bring luck to the patients and staff here and the hospital.”