27 February 2016

Flying Doctors doctorSHARE Medical Services in Mappi Regency, Papua (February 17 – 26, 2016)


Basman is one of the villages in Mappi Regency – Papua, which became the target of doctorSHARE’s Flying Doctors medical service in early 2016. The Flying Doctors team, which initially explored the central mountainous area of Papua, finally decided to reach the swampy areas of Papua because the survey results showed how people in this region still have great difficulty accessing health due to terrain conditions.

Basman Village, which is included in the Tisain District, is a village predominantly inhabited by the Korowai and Kombai Tribes. These tribes used to live on trees. Until now, there are still some communities from this tribe who live in tree houses or high houses.

Basman Village can be said to be isolated and very difficult to access. To reach this area, the team had to take a long road, starting with a flight from Jakarta to Merauke by plane. The journey continued with a pioneer plane to the capital of Mappi Regency, Keppi, for one hour. The next route is Senggo District, which can only be traveled by small speed through the swamps for four hours.

From Senggo District, the team again had to travel through the swamp for another four hours before finally arriving in Basman Village. This duration was possible because at that time the river water discharge was sufficient to support the speed. During the dry season, the journey is generally made by ketinting (a small wooden boat without an engine) with a longer travel time.

With all these difficulties, it is not surprising that the people of Basman Village enthusiastically welcomed the team’s presence, which in its implementation received support from the Regional Government and the local Health Office.

Carrying the theme “Reaching Eastern Indonesia with Love”, doctorSHARE’s Flying Doctors team deployed a surgeon (dr. Lie Dharmawan), two general practitioners, and two non-medical volunteers.

Flying Doctors medical services in Basman Village were carried out in the form of general treatment, minor surgery, and health counseling. General treatment took place under a tent in the Pustu Basman area which was attended by 303 patients. The most common types of diseases that appear include Acute Respiratory Infections (ARI), muscle pain (myalgia), abdominal pain (dyspepsia), headache (cephalgia), and skin diseases (dermatitis).

Minor surgery was performed on 20 patients with 26 cases. A number of minor surgery cases could not be performed due to limited time and supporting medicines. In addition, many people from neighboring villages suddenly came to get medical services.

The team also conducted health counseling with the theme of Clean and Healthy Living Behavior (PHBS). Around 300 children gathered in the school building (which unfortunately could not be used for teaching and learning activities due to the absence of teachers) and followed the counseling on how to wash their hands and the steps to brush their teeth properly and correctly. In addition to brushes and toothpaste, the team also distributed donated sandals to the children of Basman Village.

In this service, doctorSHARE also collaborated with Eijkman Research Institute Jakarta in supporting research on human genome diversity and diseases in Mappi Regency. The enthusiasm of the community was also very high in supporting this research.

The issue of access to medical services for the people of Mappi still needs attention. The condition of this area, known as the “City of a Thousand Swamps”, is heavily influenced by nature. Even for purposes as vital as clean water, it is not easy for the community to obtain it.

This does not include various other important sectors such as education and the economy, which are still very minimal. With this condition, the community in Mappi Regency really needs to be involved in accelerating comprehensive development in all fields (education, health, transportation) on an ongoing basis.

Flying Doctors’ services to various parts of the country certainly cannot meet all the needs of the community. Therefore, we continue to strive to improve the quality and quantity of services in order to more effectively answer the needs of the community.

Last but not least, hopefully the spirit of service based on love can inspire various parties to step in to help people in need according to their respective capacities.