BANGKOK — The doctor who pioneered a nationwide volunteer network that looks after local communities’s health well-being died on Tuesday at 92.
Amorn Nonthasoot, a former health ministry perm-sec who established the program, known by Thai acronym Aor Sor Mor, died of gastrointestinal bleeding, Nakornping Hospital director Worachet Teacharak said. The network he founded is widely credited for containing the COVID-19 outbreak in Thailand.
Amorn dedicated much of his career to the development of the primary health care system in the country. Current health minister Anutin Charnvirakul posted a message of condolences for Amorn on Wednesday.
After his graduation from Harvard University in 1962, Amorn piloted a network of health reporters to communicate healthy practices to rural communities. The idea was expanded into the Aor Sor Mor in 1977.
The project has since grown to all regions nationwide. A total of 1.04 million volunteers have signed up to act as a middleman between rural residents and health officials, carrying out basic health outreach duties and more recently serving in the frontline against the coronavirus at community level.
Amorn served as a director general of the Department of Health before being promoted as a permanent secretary to the Ministry of Public Health until he retired in 1987.
After his retirement, he continued to contribute to the public health system as an advisor. Amorn also helped shape the country’s universal healthcare system that has won global renown.
His funeral was held June 3 at Wat Phra Sri Mahathat in northern Bangkok.