Covering her head with a rumpled cloth, the old lady was busy taking care of the fish caught by her husband. The fish were lifted one by one and put onto a pile of salt. This is the way to preserve the fruits of her husband’s work so that they can be sold in the market. Such work is performed every time her husband returns from the sea. Being a simple village woman with just barely enough to get by, she opts to preserve the fish the traditional way.
“I am mixing the salt with the fish in order to preserve it until it is sold in the market. If we do not this, it could not be sold when the day of the market comes”, said Mrs. Aminah.
Even though her age is just forty Mrs. Aminah Tadong Labina looks older. She has 4 children. Education was only provided to grade three of elementary school. Asked about her access to the health services, Mrs. Aminah replied that being “small people” (poor people) they rarely seek services from health facilities as these are located far from their village and they do not have enough money to pay transport.
“Our main benefit from the health services is from Mr. Dani Kerans who visits us regularly, especially at the day of Community Health Centre (Posyandu). Besides, since our village is located along the road which is normally passed by Mr. Dani, we always ask for his help when we get sick. Going to the main health center which has better facilities is only possible for richer people”, added Mrs. Aminah.
She recounted that since Mr. Dani Kerans, the only health worker in their area, received a motorcycle from HfA, the people of Kolidatang (the sub-village where Mrs. Aminah and family live), are always visited by him.
“Yes, it is true. It has been five years now since Mr. Dani got the motorcycle from HfA, now we, Kolidatang residents, regularly get health services. Before that when we needed him for medication we had to go to the branch of health center where he is based as he had no vehicle that could be used to visit villages. Now that he has an HfA motorcycle the Community Health Centre at Posyandu has come to life and the people here have more opportunity to access health services from Mr. Dani”, said Mrs. Aminah while pouring the fish onto a pile of salt in front of her.
Since Mr. Dani got the motorcycle from HfA, he really works to help the people living within his coverage area. He even works outside of his working hours in case people need his help. He can come directly to their houses to give medication. When a patient needs to be referred to the main health center or to the hospital, he can drive him/her in case there is no public transport. In the same manner, he also can do so when the family of the patient does not have enough money to pay public transport. So he can drive the patient tens of kilometers to the main public health center or even to the hospital in the town which is further from the village, emphasised Mrs. Aminah.
“There were several NGOs previously working in our area but the program of HfA is particularly unique. HfA supports health workers by means of motorcycles in order to be used to visit and to render health services to the people in remote villages. At the same time the people in villages benefit from the motorcycle as well since they can access health services on the spot without spending transport money. HfA motorcycles truly have multiple benefits.”
Translation from Indonesian by Willy Balawala