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Doctors turn to cartoons to win public support

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Doctors turn to cartoons to win public support | Samui Times
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A CARTOON series designed to build a better bond between doctors and the public is coming to a social media channel near you under a project announced yesterday by The Medical Council of Thailand.

The 12-episode “Doctor” cartoon series will features stories about the workday lives of doctors and the conditions under which they practise medicine.

The project is an effort by The Medical Council, in collaboration with 14 Royal Thai Colleges, to clear up misunderstandings and build trust between the public and doctors. Distributed through social media channels, the 12 weekly cartoon episodes will be released on Wednesdays, while related infographics will be published on Thursdays.

Doctors turn to cartoons to win public support | News by Samui TimesDr Prasit Watanapa, president of The Medical Council of Thailand, said the series would bring facts and the truth about doctors’ working lives to the public to create a better understanding between people and doctors and to eventually build trust between society and doctors.

A gap between the general public and doctors has long existed, he conceded, but in a time of complex diseases and the increased expectations of patients despite limited healthcare resources, that gap has grown.

“It is not a gap from ignorance, but it is a gap from the limited healthcare resource not being sufficient,” said Prasit. “In the developed countries, the healthcare budget averages about 6 per cent of GDP, while in Thailand it is only 4.6 per cent of GDP.”

Broadcasting on social media was ideal for the project as the medium was ideal for sharing feelings and emotions, he said, while TV was not. That led the council to choose social media as the most efficient channel for delivering their message to society.

Dr Prasobsri Ungthavorn, the 2nd vice president of the Medical Council, said that the “Doctor” series was the first time the body had developed comic content through social media, and a suitable way for the council to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

“Social media is the most impactful media available now, so we need to directly push content through this channel by collaborating with several social media channels such as Drama Addict, Mor Lab Panda, and the official Facebook page of the Medical Council,” said Prasobsri.

The series will present doctors as determined, mindful and honest as they go about treating patients, she said. If the series gets positive feedback, future episodes could developed.

“Our ultimate aim is to eventually build the public’s healthcare literacy in order to educate people with the knowledge to be able to take care of themselves,” said Prasobsri.

Dr Ittaporn Kanacharoen, the Council’s secretary-general, said the series hoped to drive public health-related knowledge through easy-to-understand content in a comics format.

It would address a multitude of problems, including people’s lack of understanding about doctors’ work.

The founder and administrator of Drama-Addict, Dr Witawat Siriprachai (alias Ja Pichit), said that every time unsatisfied patients posted their complaints about healthcare services to social media, they had contributed to the widely held misunderstanding about doctors in society.

“To address this misunderstanding needs easy-to-understand content, in the right comic format, delivered in the right social-media channel, in order to productively and efficiently reach people,” said Witawat.

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