Medical aid reaches youngest and most vulnerable in Indonesia

by AmeriCares | AmeriCares
Tuesday, 21 June 2011 19:35 GMT

* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Onthe island of Borneo, medicines donated by AmeriCares to Health In Harmony'sASRI Clinic help treat the dire medical needs of families living in the smallvillages that surround Gunung Palung National Park, home to the world's oldestrainforest.  Inthis remote area of Indonesiaknown as West Kalimantan,one-quarter of the children die before their fifth birthday, mothers oftensuccumb from complications during childbirth, and even a simple cut on the handcan lead to infection and death without access to tetanus shots or antibiotics. Throughour Medical Outreach Program, AmeriCares provides critical medicines andsupplies to doctors and health care professionals who travel overseas to volunteermedical care to people in need like the many Indonesian villagers who live inone of the 23 rural communities situated around the national park.  Curing a Little Boy's Infection Asix-year-old boy recently came to the ASRI Clinic because of a terrible pain inhis mouth.  After examining him, thedoctors discovered he had an infected abscess and several cavities from toothdecay.  Thanks to AmeriCares recentdonation of medicines, the clinic had the necessary antibiotics to treat thelittle boy's infection so he could see the clinic dentist for further care. Another Young Patient is Saved fromSurgery Paleand weak, eight-year-old Tari was brought to the clinic after experiencing morethan a week of excruciating pain in her belly. The Indonesian doctors and the visiting U.S.volunteer physicians clustered around her bed and everyone agreed on herdiagnosis—appendicitis.  Howeverthe prospect of surgery at the city hospital, which was hours away, to removeTari's appendix was a grim one for her family. The average household income of the 60,000 residents in this area isabout ${esc.dollar}13 a month, making it nearly impossible for most families to affordmedical care or to travel hours away to the nearest hospital for costlydiagnostic tests.  Thefamily had no alternative and put all their hopes into the clinic and itslimited resources.  Fortunately, theclinic had just received an AmeriCares donation of medicines.  Tari was able to receive a course of powerfulantibiotics to treat her appendicitis - and it worked.  Tari and her family left the clinic smiling. AmeriCarescommitment to provide clinics like ASRI with antibiotics, antiseptic dressings,sutures and so many other medications helps ensure these essentials areavailable when an emergency, injury or illness occurs.  With recent donations of antibiotics, painrelievers and other medicines, AmeriCares provided the volunteer medical teamat the ASRI Clinic with vital medicines to restore health and help save lives. Dr.Brooke Cotter, a U.S.physician who volunteered at the clinic, was extremely grateful for thedonations.  "Seeing firsthand the needsof this community—let me assure you that your donations are so deeplyappreciated," she told AmeriCares.  "Anddefinitely needed." AmeriCares Medical Outreach Program donates medicines andmedical supplies to U.S.-based health care professionals providing volunteermedical care to people in desperate need in 71 countries around theworld.  Depending upon their focus and needs, the teams receive productsfrom a wide range of primary care medications, anesthesia and surgicalsupplies.  In 2010, the program provided nearly ${esc.dollar}62 million worth ofcritical medicines and supplies to 1,061 teams working overseas or providingcharitable orthopedic surgeries in the U.S.