BANGKOK — The former leader of the now-defunct Future Forward Party said he is bankrolling the production of medical equipment for donating to 12 upcountry hospitals, the first shipment of which will go out Saturday.
The charity is a joint effort by Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit’s auto parts enterprise, Thai Summit, and two other corporations, O.E.I. Parts and Jaroonrat Engineering. Thanathorn also took reporters on a tour of Jaroonrat Engineering’s factory to see the production of the equipment on Tuesday.
“Everyone is working to the best of their ability and knowledge without thinking of profit,” the tycoon said. “It’s a time for everyone to pitch in, including the private sector. …This is the Thai spirit.”
Thanathorn said he came up with the idea when he was approached by engineering alumni from Chulalongkorn University and former party members to help produce patient transportation chambers and portable Modular ARI Clinics.
Thanathorn said his factory relied on open source blueprints and worked with Navamindradhiraj University’s Faculty of Medicine to design the medical equipment.
A Modular Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI) Clinic is a portable clinic where doctors and patients are placed in separate chambers to minimize infection risk. The unit has a built-in air pressure and air flow system to prevent airborne and droplet transmission.
One unit costs 600,000 baht to produce, while the patient transportation chamber costs 40,000 baht, Thanathorn said.
Noppon Chaijaroonrat, the director of Jaroonrat Engineering said that he was “happy to be able to help society.”
The first shipment will be delivered on Saturday and Sunday to Yala Hospital and Phra Nang Klao Hospital in Nonthaburi. The second set is scheduled to go out May 2 and 3, with the last sets in mid-May. The 12 hospitals have requested a total of 18 patient transportation chambers and 11 modular ARI clinics.
Thanathorn previously served as a board member to the Thai Summit, the Thai Auto Parts Manufacturers Association, and Matichon Group, a media firm that owns Khaosod English. He said he quit all positions when he ran for the 2019 election.
His party, Future Forward, placed third in the poll, and he emerged as a Prime Minister candidate for the opposition. The Future Forward was disbanded earlier this year on the allegations that it received illegal funding from Thanathorn, who was also banned from politics for 10 years.
Correction: A previous version of this article misidentified O.E.I. Parts and Jaroonrat Engineering as part of Thai Summit. In fact, they are separate entities.