Healthy people, healthy planet, is ASRIâ€™s philosophy. Healthy people have the capacity to protect their environment, and a healthy environment, in turn, nurtures the people who live it in. Weâ€™ve started in one of the most beautiful, remote corners of the Earth, where the majestic rain forests of a stunning national park provide clean water for 60,000 villagers living on the edges of the forest â€“ this is southwestern Borneo, Gunung Palung National Park.
What we provide
Health care â€“ high quality, affordable, accessible medical service â€“ is the cornerstone of our program. We believe that by making health care available to all local villagers around the park, and by weaving health care initiatives together with conservation ones, local people will be empowered to act as forest guardians, rather than illegal loggers.
ASRIâ€™s health clinic is located in Sukadana, a large town on the border of Gunung Palung. The clinic is open four days a week and is staffed by 5 doctors, 1 pharmacist, 5 nurses, and 6 administrative and other staff. Services offered at the clinic include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Free birth control for village women
- Free immunizations for children
- General medicine
- A comprehensive pharmacy
- Dental care
The clinic also coordinates a DOTS program (Direct Observed Therapy Short-course) in which village health care workers help to oversee the treatment of tuberculosis patients in their communities (see video below).
ASRIâ€™s mobile clinic visits remote communities around Gunung Palung National ParkÂ each month, bringing pharmaceuticals, immunizations, a mobile dental chair, and other services to villages without easy access to the clinic in Sukadana.
What we ask in return
Villagers can trade conservation of the national park for health care services at the ASRI clinic or mobile clinic. They can do this in two ways: first, treatment at the clinic can be paid for by bartering items used in conservation projects, including seedlingsÂ for reforestation work and manure used to create organic compost for farming, and by helping on reforestation work. Â Second, park-border communities that cease illegal logging within the park receive extra discounts on ASRIâ€™s health care services. No one is ever refused treatment at the clinic — the discounts are simply additional rewards for conservation communities.
What we have accomplished
To date, the clinic has seen over 18,000 patients, including 1,200 seen on the mobile clinics. It is our hope to build a hospital beginning in 2011. The hospital will have surgical facilities and in-patient housing, allowing ASRI to serve more patients and involve more local people in our conservation work. Please consider donating to make this vision a reality.
See the video below for the stories of patients who have been cured of tuberculosis and the great success of our Directly-Observed Therapy program to prevent drug resistance. This film was made by Janet Tobias, an Emmy Award winning Television Producer from NY and Ikana Media, her film company. Esme Cullen, a previous volunteer, co-produced the film.