In West Kalimantan, isolated and remote villages struggle to access health care facilities and must often travel several hours through harsh terrain to reach a hospital. ASRI responded by creating a mobile clinic that provides basic care to thousands of people in distant communities through monthly visits. Immunization is a critical part of the program, as some regions have immunization rates as low as 20%. The mobile clinic has also started a health care savings program, whereby community members can donate seedlings for reforestation to ASRI and create a “savings account” with the clinic so that they are covered in the event of a medical emergency.
*Photo credit: Bryan Watt
All photos by family doctor Diane Dakin, a volunteer with Health In Harmony at ASRI. Click on any photo to see slideshow (you may need to wait a moment for photos to load).
Guest blog by Vince O’Hara
Only 17% of my fellow Americans are “alarmed” by climate change, according to a recent survey. More than half (55%) rank climate change last among 23 competing political priorities.
As someone alarmed by climate change, this news is alarming. When I look around and see rising temperatures, increasing carbon emissions, declining forests, dying seas, booming human population, mass displacement, and surging migration, alongside an admirable yet insufficient international agreement that assumes that we will make fundamental economic shifts by mid-century or otherwise face unimaginable heat, I cannot help but be alarmed.
Guest blog by Maggie Gumbinner
Last month, a group of nine Health In Harmony supporters traveled to Sukadana in West Kalimantan, where our partner ASRI operates, as part of the 2016 Friendship Tour. On the trip, they met members of the ASRI staff, saw the rain forest that they helped reforest, talked to the patients whose lives were saved at the clinic, and watched the hospital grow before their eyes. Below, Health In Harmony Board Vice President and trip participant Maggie Gumbinner shares her reflection from the trip.
In Indonesia, doctors must pay to complete their medical residency, creating a wide gap between those who can afford specialized training and those who cannot. Not only is this an inequitable system, but it means that rural areas are often void of skilled doctors. A small group of Health In Harmony donors has already given $110,000 to three former ASRI doctors currently completing their residencies. These doctors plan to return to ASRI and serve as required specialists in the Community Hospital and Training Center for five years. But they need $74,000 to finish their education. You can help keep them in school with a donation today.
Below, we share the stories of these three doctors.
A fundamental part of Health In Harmony’s mission is to improve the health of the people we serve. By building the Community Hospital and Training Centerin rural West Borneo, Indonesia, our organization, in partnership with ASRI, is able to provide the education and services that Indonesians need to provide health care in Indonesia, allowing people to stay healthy and live longer.
Over the past two weeks, a group of nine Health In Harmony supporters have been traveling around Sukadana in West Kalimantan, where our partner ASRI operates. On this trip, they’ve had the opportunity to meet members of the ASRI staff, see the rain forest that they helped reforest, talk to the patients whose lives were saved at the clinic, and watch the hospital grow before their eyes. Below, Health In Harmony Board Vice President and trip participant Maggie Gumbinner shares a series of beautiful photos from their journey. Next stop: Bali! Read More
We’re back with another edition of Research Rundown! This month, Health In Harmony Research Director, Bethany Kois, interviewed Herfina Nababan, a volunteer who recently returned to ASRI after seven years to conduct 71 in-person interviews with members of the community for a realist evaluation aimed at uncovering Health In Harmony’s theory of the change. Below she shares how ASRI has changed since her last trip, and what brought her back after so many years! Read More
“I joined the board of HIH because HIH provides an integrated approach to meeting needs relevant to both human and environmental health. While my clinical and drug development work have focused on individuals and on specific diseases, work with HIH enables me to apply my experience to global needs that are both urgent and amenable to intervention.”
Guest blog by Jessie Kittle
Seven years of advanced and expensive training in the US has prepared me to be an attending in a few months. Particularly in my practice setting, expensive and complex interventions are the norm and sometimes benefit the patient. I’ve recognized throughout the years that the system that shaped me has some serious flaws. Health care access is often disparate, and we spend more time facing the computer than our patients. Futile care at the end of life and over-utilization of expensive interventions are common, and the bankrupting of patients occurs regularly (and beyond the view of doctors who contributed). I have sometimes felt my passion for this version of doctoring wane, and I came to ASRI seeking the holistic ideal of connecting with patients and improving the community with my practice.
Rural health care in Indonesia is in crisis right now. Consider these statistics: The life expectancy in Indonesia is 67 years old. Only 5% of the population is currently over the age of 65. In addition, approximately a third of children under 5 suffer from stunted growth. Diarrheal disease, HIV/AIDS, cancer, and polio are some of the most common killers among Indonesians.
Last August, Cargo Inc, located just blocks from our office in SE Portland, invited us to participate in an art show in their beautiful brick warehouse. The shop is mesmerizing, expertly decorated with trinkets from all over the world – strings of fabric elephants, bowls of bright blue evil eye beads, flowing tunics, and an entire basement full of rustic furniture.
The final post in our Volunteer Appreciation Month series! An interview with Jeff Wyatt, who has been a donor, volunteer, and Board Member at Health In Harmony – someone that we are so thankful to have in this organization. His unique journey with Health in Harmony is a testament to his commitment to a healthy planet with healthy people. Interview edited for length and clarity. Read More
Guest blog by Alex Domingo
The second reflection in our Volunteer Appreciation Month series! Stay tuned for a new post from volunteers each week in April. Read More
Guest blog by Kenny Morford
Have we told you how awesome our volunteers are? In honor of Volunteer Appreciation Month, we are dedicating April to recognizing the contributions of these amazing individuals who travel from all over the world to save forests and save lives in Sukadana. Our work would not be possible without them and we are incredibly grateful for their generous service. Stay tuned for a series of reflections from volunteers throughout the month! Read More
** Thank you Chris Beauchamp for the beautiful photo.
Patients barter seedlings at the ASRI clinic to pay their medical bills. By buying these seedlings from the clinic for the reforestation program, you are ensuring the clinic can stay open as well as planting, watering and maintaining the seedlings so they can become strong rain forest trees.
With your donation, you have become a critical link in creating a healthy planet with healthy people. Thank you!
Read the stories of patients who have created seedling savings accounts this week on Facebook.
I remember the first time I ever saw a patient pay for medical care with tree seedlings at the ASRI Clinic. Pak Hamsu, a patient from the village of Laman Satong where our main reforestation site is located, had amassed medical bills totaling over $375 at the ASRI Clinic after he had a severe stroke in April 2013. When he finally died, his family did not have enough money to repay the debt. So his nephew Jhony repaid the debt the only way he knew how: raising tree seedlings, grown from the seeds collected in the nearby forest that his village has protected for generations.