In this guest blog post, Dr. Sarah Walpole reflects on her experience visiting our Indonesian partner Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI) and participating in their Mobile Clinic program.

In the village

Our day started as usual with the 8 am meeting at ASRI in Sukadana. Then, Docter Ela, the driver and I climbed into the car and set out. We stopped to collect Efan, the nurse, and Aulia, the pharmacist, from their homes. Soon after, we stopped at a council office to collect a projector. In a village further on our car was joined by that of the team who would be projecting a film about orangutans and forest protection to the waiting patients.

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This month marked the first round of patient visits for Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI)'s mobile clinic team in their new truck! The mobile clinic team climbed aboard and headed to a small village called Pangkalan Jihing.  Loaded up with blood pressure monitors, eyeglasses, dental equipment, and everything in between, the new truck was ready for its long ride through the forest.

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Every month our partner Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI) provides clinical care and follow up visits for families in the most rural villages on the border of Gunung Palung National Park. ASRI staff crisscross the landscape delivering affordable medical care to patients who have no other access to medical care. In exchange, patients often pay with seedlings instead of cash.

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Dr. Courtney Howard is an emergency room physician who has witnessed the health impacts of climate change firsthand through her work in the Canadian Arctic. Bringing years of experience in medicine, public health, and planetary health, she recently joined Health In Harmony's Board of Directors and visited our pilot program, Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI), to provide clinical instruction to their doctors. This post from Courtney's blog shows the impact of our Chainsaw Buyback program, an innovative way to promote sustainable livelihoods and help the few remaining loggers put down their chainsaws once and for all.
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An open invitation to the villages calling all loggers for hire for construction on ASRI’s new Community Hospital Training Center (CHTC) is taking sustainable construction to the next level.

Well before ASRI broke ground on the CHTC, the staff had made sure to include a clause stating they will hire 40% of local labor during the duration of construction. The labor was defined as low-skill labor to people without construction training for work under the supervision and direction of the CHTC contractor. The jobs include excavation, block laying, and construction of temporary form work to support concrete.

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