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In 1965, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej The Great, while visiting the countryside, brought along his Royal Medical Unit. This medical unit has since become an integral part of each rural trip.

His Majesty is actively involved in the work of the medical unit – sitting patiently with ill villagers explaining how they are to take the daily doses of their prescribed medicine. Those requiring extensive treatment are transferred to a hospital during which they would be under His Majesty's patronage and receive royal sponsorship for both medical and household expenses while hospitalized.

In addition, clinics have been set up near his palaces throughout the countryside to provide free healthcare services to villagers. Villagers living along rivers and canals are also cared for by the Vejapah, a Red Cross boat fully equipped to provide medical services.

All medical units are staffed by royal or military physicians or other Royal Medical Division personnel. His Majesty's efforts and contributions have received international recognition. In 1992, the World Health Organization (WHO) awarded him with a "Health-for-All Gold Medal" for his work to improve the health of needy subjects.