By Saichon Nudaeng
“I think I will stop the handouts next month,” said Saengchai Haelerttrakul, who is better known as Mor Saeng, on Tuesday.
His comments came a day after the director-general of the Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine, Dr Kiattibhoom Vongrachit, told the media that his agency had not yet certified Saengchai as a folk doctor on the grounds that he had not submitted all of the required documents.
“When you [Kiattibhoom] said you wanted more documents, I submitted all of them by February 3 [Saturday]. What’s the point of informing the public this way?” Saengchai said.
He also complained that the department had made it too complicated to get the certification and kept asking for more documents.
Saengchai has not received formal training as a physician, but he is widely referred to as “Mor”, which means “doctor” in Thai, because of the herbal concoctions that he distributes.
Many cancer patients have said his herbal capsules have improved their conditions, with thousands of people queuing for the free handouts every month.
“I will clearly announce after February 20 whether I will call it quits,” Saengchai said. His full-time job is as a manager at the Prachin Buri branch of the Provincial Electricity Authority.
Saengchai added that authorities probably had better treatments to help patients than he had.
There are 2,179 certified folk doctors in Thailand, about half of whom are herbal practitioners. Categorised by region of residence, 1,567 are in the Northeast, 59 in the North, 291 in the South, 163 in the Central region and 99 in the East.