Dr. Krista Farey is a physician from California who has visited our pilot program Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI) on several occasions. Here is a recent update from Dr. Farey:
Greetings from Sukadana, West Kalimantan, Borneo, Indonesia, where I have the good fortune and privilege to be serving for a third time as teaching support for the excellent team of young Indonesian doctors at ASRI clinic. The environment is as luscious as ever and my work at ASRI clinic, a non-profit linking human health and planetary health, is fun and gratifying. Medicine here remains a calling and is not just a job.
Guest blog by Stella Lesmana
If my “Borneo bracelet” breaks, that’s the sign that I should visit Sukadana again.
That was my promise. Finally on February 20, 2017 I landed again in Ketapang.
Guest blog by Clare Wolfowitz, Ph.D.
What works? Carefully designed community outreach works. And community capacity-building works. Here’s how.
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.
Guest blog by Ben Johnson
At 8am we finished loading the truck for our journey for the Mobile Clinic. It was imperative that we set off early, as, while the sun was still low in the sky, it had already begun to get hot, and we had more than 8 hours to drive to reach the remote villages. Between the 95 degree heat and the bumpy dirt road, the one saving grace was our stereo, which allowed Dr. Vina to lead us in singing enthusiastically along to an eclectic mix of Indonesian and Western pop music.
This year’s extremely dry September has caused smog-belching fires throughout Indonesia, and has left a blanket of smoke covering Sukadana’s lush forest.
Fires are an annual problem during the dry season in Indonesia due to the slash-and-burn land clearing practices of farmers and palm oil plantations. This year, the burning has been more extreme due to an El Niño weather system that produces tinder-dry conditions.
April is Volunteer Appreciation Month. Each week this month, we'll be featuring new perspectives on ASRI’s work from some of the people who know it best: our volunteers.
Derek Richardson is a Clinical Instructor and Physician at the University of California, San Francisco General Hospital and served as an attending physician at the ASRI Clinic in January 2015. He was drawn to Health In Harmony for the "interesting and valuable goal in providing health care inside a larger umbrella of resource and community awareness" and discusses his experience on Mobile Clinic trips while volunteering with ASRI.
Dr. Ronald Natawidjaja, one of the doctors who has served at ASRI since 2012, was recently accepted into his residency in general surgery, which will begin in January. We are so excited to offer heartfelt congratulations and best wishes to Dr. Ron!
Sometimes you start things but you have no idea where they will go. That is what happened when we hired Ibu Hamisah to be one of our village health workers six years ago. She was a shy woman from a village about half an hour away from our clinic who had very little self confidence. Six years later, you won't believe what has happened to her!
When Dr. Vina Wang first told her parents she would like to work for Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI) in rural Borneo, they took some convincing.
“When I first wanted to go to ASRI, it was hard to ask for my father’s permission because my parents think Borneo is in the middle of nowhere. My mother was very supportive, but my dad was worried about his daughter in the middle of the jungle.” Vina told HIH’s executive director, Michelle Bussard, in a recent interview.
Guest blog by Dr. Krista Farey
Coming to Sukadana has been a blast of hot humid air, and warm new friends. As soon as I arrived and was situated in the "girls' house" off we went on our bikes. Imagine my surprise, arriving from San Francisco, to what I had heard was arguably one of the most corrupt and disaster-prone countries of the world, to learn that we had no bike locks. Not needed in Sukadana, they said, and besides, these are ASRI bikes. The "girls" were confident that there is so much respect for ASRI in the community that no one would mess with an ASRI bike.
Each week this month, we’re bringing you fresh perspectives on ASRI’s work from some of the people who know it best: our volunteers.
The gibbons sing their howls. Motorbikes zoom by. ASRI Clinic hosts a few in-patients. The “plastics” truck eases by with its familiar tune, calling customers. Sun beats down as the morning breeze all but disappears. A day like any other and most, except that after three years, Dr. Nur Chandra Bunawan (Dr. Nur) departed ASRI yesterday amid tears and joy and, yes, trepidation to gain his residency in Internal Medicine.
“Capacity building” is believing in and creating the means to fulfill and express great potential. While it is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot, it’s something to which we and our project partner ASRI are deeply committed.
Guest blog by Sisca Wiguno and Natalia (DOTS program coordinator)
Natalia, the ASRI DOTS Program Coordinator, interviewed one of the community health workers for TB treatment (DOTS workers), called Pengawas Minum Obat (treatment adherence supporter) in Bahasa - and one TB patient. In this interview, they shared their impressions about ASRI’s TB treatment program, their motivation to continue their work (for the DOTS workers), and to finish TB treatment (for the patient). Here are their stories:
Read about Dr. Bunawan’s life-transforming experience at Klinik ASRI and as a life-long learner of medicine. Health In Harmony thanks Yale New Haven Hospital/Global Health Program under the direction of: Dr. Asghar Rastegar; Laura Crawford of J&J Scholars; Board Member Kathleen White; and, Dr. Ewen Wang of Stanford University Medical School, and all the friends of HIH & ASRI who helped Nur out along the way.
Guest blog by Nur Chandra Bunawan, MD
Guest blog by Hotlin Ompusunggu, DDS and Alexandra Ristow
Alexandra Ristow, a Yale Medical Student, shares her volunteer experience with the ASRI project in Sukadana, and I reflect on trust.