Wiphan Khaloi was born in Chiang Mai, Thailand from Thai-karen family, the youngest of 3 children. She graduated from Baromarajonana College of Nursing, Nakhon Lampang (Lampang Nursing College) in 1993 with a license in nursing and midwifery, and Chiang Mai University in 2007 with a Master of Public Administration.

Wiphan’s first job was as a registered nurse at Mae Sariang Christian Hospital where she worked in OPD and IPD. She became the head nurse of a mobile clinic team working in the Thai hill tribe village and refugee camp.

When the Mae Sariang Christian hospital was closed, Wiphan returned home and to the Chiang Mai Ram hospital as an RN in the Emergency Department for one year, after which she applied to work with the Malteser International for Health project for Karen and Burmese refugees along the Thai Myanmar Border.

She was accepted, and implemented primary health care components for 6 camps, in the Mae Sariang District, Thailand, as a Mother and Child Health Nurse.

Today, Wiphan continues to work with Malteser International as a women’s heath coordinator.

One of her many experiences working with Malteser International in Thailand happened in 2005, when she helped lead a response team associated with the Tsunami relief program in the Southern Thailand province. She also worked as an emergency relief nurse in Nepal for 2 months in 2015 following that devastating earthquake.

Wiphan also served as a Health and Nutrition advisor for emergency response supporting Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar supporting Malteser International’s partner organizations in technical health-related fields.

Working as a women’s and child health coordinator in refugee camps for twenty years, Wiphan has brought knowledge, technical skills and compassion to patients and their families who have been driven out of their homes and homelands.

As a professional health care provider, Wiphan is constantly challenging herself to learn more and improve her skills, while also continuing work as a coach and educator.

Today she works specifically in a primary health care program for Karen refugees along the Thai-Myanmar border that includes mother and child health, extended programs for immunizations, HIV programs, nutrition programs as well as health promotion.

“As one of my tasks in women’s health, I know that women need supportive environment during and after their pregnancy and child birth,” Wiphan says. “Nursing as a health care science focuses on serving the needs of human as a bio psychosocial and spiritual being, and so I strive to bring scientific knowledge but also interpersonal, intellectual and social skills, including compassion.”

One of Wiphan’s most beautiful memories is of a conversation she had with a single, teenage mother in a post-natal ward. “The woman was very young, and spent 3 days in the hospital giving birth, without a husband to support her.

She could not breast feed, and worried about the health of her child. I sat beside her and put my hand on her shoulder and offered to listen to her problems and after hearing her worries, I reminded her that she is not alone. She still has her mom who will support her when she back home. After 20 minutes, she was more relaxed and committed to raising her baby and doing her best.”

Wiphan helped discharge her, and today she says, “I hope that this teen mother will receive adequate support from her parents and that she will have a good experience becoming a good mom, paying proper attention for her own health as well as that of the growing baby.”

Wiphan is clearly living her life in service of others and will continue to be one of our next generation leaders in global nursing. Along with our non-profit partner, Malteser International, we are honored to share her story, and recognize her work on May 11 at the United Nations, as part of Nurses With Global Impact’s annual event celebrating International Nurses Day and week.

Our greatest thanks to Wiphan and her teams!

– Deb