International Leprosy Association -
History of Leprosy

  • International Leprosy Association -
    History of Leprosy


    Pauliang Chantah Indravude

    Status Other
    Country Thailand


    Pauliang (Guardian Father) Chantah Indravude was a co-director of the Chiang Mai Leprosarium alongside Dr James McKean.

    The following entry was generously supplied by Ted Brown.

    'In his youth, Chantah Indravude served as medical assistant to Dr. Cheek, Dr. Peoples, Dr. Cary and Rev. McGilvary. He then became Dr. McKean's trusted assistant at the American Mission Hospital, where he served for over 20 years. He also helped run the Mission Vaccination Laboratory. Later, he helped the missionaries in dealing with the locals in matters of business and property. He negotiated for the sites of some Christian schools and the new site for the mission hospital, Tambon Nong Seng, which is now the location of McCormick Hospital.

    ... it was Chantah who first saw the potential of the mad elephant's island, Koh Klang. He oversaw the clearing of the south end and construction of the cottages and other buildings. He was described as "the first assistant and right-hand man in all matters of native diplomacy" in 1909. For the next two decades, Chantah's administrative role at the asylum was important enough to call him a co-director. His seventh child, Nang Sopah Chailangkarn, recalls that Dr. McKean would come to their family's home at Nong Prateeb near the railway station almost daily to discuss matters with her father. He continued to do medical work at the asylum as he had at the early mission hospital in his youth. In fact, in the mid-1920's he was probably responsible for the day-to-day supervision of six medical orderlies. He and his friend, Mr. Dib were involved in planning and carrying out much of the construction of cottages, dormitories and perhaps the church at Koh Klang in the busy 1920s.

    Dr. McKean's parting words about Chantah follow: "Dr. Chantah is my senior in medical work by two years, having served a total of more than 40 years as my valued helper and associate. If there are any creditable features in the institution he should come in for a full share of recognition." In his later years, Chantah quit doing medical work at the asylum and came less frequently from his home in town, but still helped with some administrative duties. He died September 15, 1937, probably from pulmonary tuberculosis."

    For further information, see: Brown, TR. Chapter 2 in Contagious Compassion: Celebrating 100 Years of American Leprosy Missions. Providence House: Franklin, 2006, pp. 25-42.

    This entry was created September 14, 2006.

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