11 July 2024

As Thailand’s medical system struggles under a surge of COVID-19 cases, ordinary people are helping to plug the gaps, risking their own health to bring supplies to patients unable to access professional help.

In the Sai Mai district of Bangkok, a volunteer group called “Sai Mai Will Survive” is being run off its feet by around a hundred SOS calls a day from desperate COVID-19 infected people unable to get the help they need.

The Sai Mai Will Survive group was founded during the first COVID-19 outbreak in Thailand, with only 4 or 5 members. In August last year, they launched their official Facebook page, as they thought that COVID-19 would be around for a long time. Today, they have around 100 volunteers who are ready to help people in Sai Mai district. The district and neighboring area hasa population of around 200,000 people.

Ekapob Laungprasert, Head of “Sai Mai Will Survive” group said “Today we can handle only green and yellow cases. We have more than 100 yellow cases right now. Since the shortage of hospital beds, we know that the green patients won’t be admitted to hospital. They have to home isolate. So, we have to check on them to see if they need some help. We will find food for them and tell them not to go out. People donate food to patients through our Facebook page.”

So home-spun heroes, like Ekapob and his group, are buying equipment and supplies with public donations, but it’s still not enough to help everyone.

They receive about 100 calls a day from desperate COVID-19 patients unable to get help and some patients do not survive.

” It’s so sad, but we cannot do much because we have a limited budget and equipment. If we had around 100 oxygen tanks and 3 ambulances, we could do it better. Our volunteers have been trained in every way to help the patients, but we are just lacking the equipment. Our ambulance is very old, we have used it for around 20 years. Sometimes we go to pick up the patients, our ambulance breaks down on the way and we have to fix it. We would like to ask for support from a government agency, or any other unit, by donating or just lending us the vans and we will return the vans to them when the crisis passes. “, He added.

Even though they are afraid of getting infected with COVID-19, they still believe in their system and they believe that the good deeds that they are doing, helping people, that will protect them.