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Respirator Project

In July 2008, Rotarian Philip Parker was installed as the 6th President of Rotary Club of Koh Samui, ROCKS.  One of his actions as President was to seek agreement from Club members, to ‘adopt’ Koh Samui Hospital, Nathon, as the Club’s Project for the year.  President Philip was prompted to take up this cause after visiting a friend in the hospital, and where he felt that there was much help needed for the comfort of patients and effective running of the establishment.

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ROCKS had by then, some history of liaison with the hospital, presenting it with a much needed Heart Monitor in the first year of the Club’s existence.  The hospital’s budget at that time was only sufficient for Primary care, and there was nothing left over for such equipment (read more).

Then, on February 14th, 2006, ROCKS presented the hospital with 99 Wheelchairs (read more).

President Philip met with the Deputy Director, Dr Jirawan, and explained that the Club wished to help the hospital with essential equipment.  Dr Jirawan was delighted, and agreed to supply a list of items that would help the hospital in their task of supporting the ever burgeoning population of Koh Samui, many of whom were not registered, and did not, therefore attract government funding. The ‘wish list’ included a Respirator, 2 Oxymeters and an Incubator. The rationale for the Respirator, the biggest single item, was that the sole reliable unit was occupied 100% of the time by a young boy, paralysed from the neck down, but mentally alert. The estimate for these items was in the region of 1.4million baht, an enormous sum for the small but active Rotary Club.

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Undaunted, President Philip put forward to the Club the proposal that he would apply for a Matching Grant through Rotary International Foundation. During the remainder of his tenure, P Philip investigated the process by which a Matching Grant could be sought. He also obtained a financial commitment from his own former Rotary Club, Chislehurst in England.

While the paperwork was being processed, the Club installed its 7th President in July 2009, and new President Claudio Cerquetti agreed to continue with the Hospital Project.

Claudio_05Within a very short time, the Club received the unwelcome news that due to the global financial situation, there was very little prospect of a Foundation Grant in the foreseeable future. But to alleviate the shock of this news, Dr Jirawan informed the club that a new Incubator had already been acquired, and that the static Respirator originally asked for could be replaced by a mobile unit, which was also cheaper! The sum now needed was ‘only’ just over three quarters of a million baht!

With renewed enthusiasm, the Club increased its fundraising efforts under the enthusiastic leadership of P Claudio, including the profits from his own Installation Night and a Second Hand Sale. Generous benefactors increased the total until the target was finally reached in November 2009.

With the help of Rotary International in Bangkok, a Respirator and an Oxymeter were ordered, arriving at the hospital by mid December. With great excitement, the handover ceremony was fixed for 20th December, to coincide with the arrival of one of the sponsors, Dr Peter Tschudi of Rotary Club of Uetliberg, Switzerland.

On the day, Dr Jirawan and her staff made the visitors welcome.  Rotary members were joined by Dr Tschudi, Eric Tarleton (another major sponsor), Lynn Gregory of Samui Rescue and a ‘Friend of Rotary’, and Jo Reynolds, another ‘Friend of Rotary’.

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P Claudio made a speech, followed by Dr Jirawan, who thanked ROCKS most profusely.  The Respirator and Oxymeter were proudly displayed before the group was given a guided tour of the hospital, of particular interest to Dr Tschudi, a General Practioner in his own country.

ROCKS acknowledge the support and help in raising this magnificent sum for the health and well being of the Thai community of Koh Samui, of:
RC Chislehurst, UK, RC Uetliberg, RC Patong Beach, Eric and Heidi Tarleton, Olga Soe, Friends of Rotary and the island community of Koh Samui