Stories of Change

Top: Saw Myint says her whole family has come to Kwai River Christian Hospital for decades. Middle: a new mom and her 3-week-old daughter in one of the hospital's exam rooms. Bottom: Construction is underway of the new Kwai River Christian Hospital location.

A Day at Kwai River Christian Hospital

It’s another busy day at the rural Kwai River Christian Hospital in Thailand, near the border with Myanmar. It’s a small facility with a big job: taking care of people with lots of different needs.

The hospital receives about 20,000 visits each year, which is more than 50 a day. Some of the patients are Thai and live in the community around the hospital. Others are refugees from Myanmar who live in a nearby camp; when someone from the camp needs advanced care, they come to KRCH. About 20 miles away KRCH staff are working in a border clinic, screening new arrivals from Myanmar and sending them on to the main hospital if they need more care.

Saw Myint came to the hospital today because she is experiencing bad back pain. Originally from Myanmar, she moved to this part of Thailand more than 50 years ago. She comes to KRCH often, and so does her whole family. Saw Myint says she especially appreciates KRCH because the staff prioritize taking care of their patients, and everyone working here is kind.

Down the hall, a new mother beams while talking about her 3-week-old daughter. They live a couple of miles from the hospital, and their whole family comes to KRCH when they need care. The team here really cares about their patients, she says. If you miss an appointment, they will follow up with you to make sure you can still get the care you need.

Sirikanlaya Prakunwiset is a pharmacist on the hospital staff. She remembers an older patient who had a number of medical conditions. One day she came in with a new problem: her leg was swelling and was very painful. The problem was that the usual medication that would normally be prescribed was too strong due to her other conditions. The doctor was able to find her a different medicine, and she got better. For the team at KRCH, finding the right care for each patient is a top priority. In fact, Dr. Yotsapat Kwonkerd says that it’s his favorite part of his job. He says he enjoys monitoring each patient to make sure their treatment is working.

A few miles away, in the larger town of Sangkhlaburi, there’s another flurry of activity happening for the Kwai River Christian Hospital team.

A larger, more modern hospital is under construction here with support from CWS.

Patients and the hospital team are eagerly anticipating the day when the new hospital opens. It will enable this hardworking team to deliver even better care for patients. Sirikanlaya is looking forward to new and expanded technologies. Yotsapat anticipates having larger stocks of medications, more beds and a larger team. Plus, he expects to have new instruments for monitoring patients, enabling him to be even better at the job he loves.

“We will develop our capacity very much,” says hospital director and manager Pranote Buskornreungrat. Right now, KRCH is the only hospital in more than 150 miles on either side of the border to have a full-time surgeon. When the new location opens, it will have the first Intensive Care Unit in that same range. It will also have equipment for minimally-invasive surgery, which isn’t possible in the current location. Because of its proximity to the border, KRCH has a higher birth rate than most rural hospitals in Thailand. In the new location, the maternity ward will have a nursery for the newborns.

In their current location, the Kwai River Christian Hospital team is delivering loving and high-quality care to thousands of their neighbors from all walks of life. We’re excited to help launch the next chapter of their story, in which this capable team has even more resources at their disposal.