Taking Medical Care to Remote Villages with Australian Aid: Friendship Grants
The villages of Songan and Tigawasa in Bali, Indonesia share common problems. The districts are poor, mountainous and isolated. Songan experiences bad weather, earthquakes and subsequent landslides, which often block access to the district and cause great destruction. The district is close to Mt Agung, an active volcano, which forces villagers to evacuate their homes when the volcano threatens to erupt. Tigawasa has a serious lack of water which local organisations are working to change, but there remains no simple solution.
The isolation of these villages means they have little medical care, no hospitals and little education about basic hygiene and health. Many villagers have poor health, nutrition and hygiene. This means tropical diseases are common. Simple things like safely disposing of rubbish could help drastically change this. There is one local medical clinic in the area, but it only provides basic medical services. Access to the clinic can be difficult for many villagers due to distance, closed roads, lack of transport and transport costs.
With the support of the Australia Aid: Friendship Grant, Global Development Group and partner organisation J718 Bali Kids have brought desperately needed medical and dental care to children in these remote districts. This year 457 children received medical checks and treatment, and 459 children received dental care. 18.5% of these children were treated for throat infections or tonsillitis, 14% for common colds or flus, and 15% for skin infections. Skin infections are common in Tigawasa where water is a precious commodity and they cannot afford to use it to wash. Many of these children may never see a doctor or dentist unless our mobile medical clinic visited, and might still be living with medical conditions.
Our team recently chatted to the Head of Songan Village, known as the Kapala Desa. He told us “We need this project for our children to make a good impact in the community and for our future. Especially for the children in the poorest region up on the hill [who have been isolated by landslides recently]. We can already see an improvement in the children’s hygiene and dental care.”