Sep 20, 2021

Our Papua Project is Funded!

Rachel Monoach with two of her five kids
Rachel Monoach with two of her five kids

Thanks to your donations the Papua project is fully funded!

The Papua clinic now has a physician on staff and a team of 8 midwives. Next month, the acupuncturist who works at the clinic will go full time, increasing the level of service to more patients.

The impact of having the clinic in the area and running a remote midwife checkup program is becoming evident. The numbers of babies being born in our Papua clinic jumped from 10 in July to 22 in August. Pre-natal checkups rose from 49 in July to 81 in August. 

The COVID-19 isolation birth room is finished, and just needs furnishings. This will allow our COVID-positive Moms to have their babies safely at our clinic, without needing to be transported to a hospital.

The isolation room has been a project that our Clinic Director, Rachel Monoach, has been passionate about from the start. She was pressured, against her wishes, into having a cesarean birth with her first child and felt traumatized by her experience. According to Rachel, many indigenous Papuan mothers are given Cesareans that they don't need and are so traumatized that they attempt to deliver subsequent babies at home alone, without skilled care, and often with tragic results. Rachel holds a Master's Degree in Psychology and wanted to find a way to turn her own pain into power. 

Rachel worked with Bumi Sehat Bali and donors to estabish the Angel Hiromi clinic in her native Papua. Just as the clinic opened, the pandemic struck and we lost head midwife, Farida Salman, to COVID-19. Rachel has also lost ten members of her extended family this past year. Despite her own grief and losses, Rachel has stayed determined that every mother have a chance to have a gentle birth, and not wind up in a hospital, even if she is positive for COVID-19.

The Department of Health Papua agreed that COVID-19 postive Moms could give birth at Angel Hiromi if an isolation room was built, which has now been completed.

Rachel set up a remote visiting midwife program, and Bumi Sehat midwives travel in canoes and motorboats to the far islands of Lake Sentani, bringing prenatal care, vitamins, baby clothes and health services to remote villages. For many of these mothers, this is the only maternal health care they will receive during their pregnancy. Our midwives will also travel to deliver a baby, meaning the mother doesn't have to try to reach Angel Hiromi while she is in labor.

Now a mother of five children, all but the first delivered by gentle, loving women-to-woman care, Rachel is truly heroic in her efforts to care for other Papuan mothers.

Midwife Lili Suebu travelling across Lake Santani
Midwife Lili Suebu travelling across Lake Santani
The new COVID-19 isolation room
The new COVID-19 isolation room
Sep 7, 2021

Deliver Pandemic Maternal Health Care in Bali is Fully Funded!

Our Pandemic Maternal Health Project is now fully funded! Thank you so much for your support and for donating during our campaigns on GlobalGiving. Our clinics have been able to continue to offer medical and lab services, and provide full Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for all of our staff to ensure their safety. Our dedicated midwives, doctors and nurses continue to treat as many patients as before the pandemic, but now with social distancing protocols, strict mask wearing guidelines and PPE to reduce their chances of catching COVID-19. As per Indonesian Health Department regulations, all our staff, at all our clinics, are fully vaccinated, which protects their health and that of our patients.

This doesn't mean our work is over. Bumi Sehat will continue to offer by-donation or free general and maternal healthcare and birth services. We anticipate that the Balinese economy will continue to be severely impacted by the collapse of the tourism economy for another one to two years. 

We will continue to fundraise through GlobalGiving and currently have active projects for our Papua and Lombok clinics, as well as a new Women and Children Pandemic Food Security project. Team Bumi Sehat distributes weekly food packages to vulnerable women, families and elderly in North Bali who are affected by the economic downturn. Many people have lost jobs and turned to subsistence farming to feed their families. They often lack money to pay for basic staples, such as rice or oil, so our packages provide these staples, plus protein such as eggs or tempeh, and fresh vegetables. 

We are also excited to announce that Bumi Sehat can now receive donations in crypto currency. This gives our donors another channel to help support our work. For more information, visit our website and click on the Donations tab.

Jul 11, 2021

Bali Braces For A New Pandemic Wave and the Bumi Sehat Clinic is Prepared

Bali is heading into a mild form of lockdown as Indonesia experiences its newest wave of the pandemic, and is affected by the new Delta variant. Across the island, we're subject to new regulations about limiting non-essential activities and trips, and people are encouraged to stay home as much as possible, and travel as little as possible.

Bumi Sehat's Ubud clinic remains open 24/7 as we're considered an essential service facility. Our staff of midwives and nurses are rostered around the clock for continuous care. At the start of the pandemic, many patients stayed away from the clinic as they feared being around groups of people. However, now our patient numbers are returning to pre-pandemic levels as people see how rigourously Bumi Sehat is following health protocols.

The Bali clinic had resumed prenatal yoga classes, limited to 20 women, but we've now voluntarily stopped the in-person class and gone back to online yoga for safety. 

Over the past year, the Bumi Sehat clinic has proven that we can maintain strict social distancing guidelines and protocols. Patient numbers are limited for acupuncture and other treatment clinics. Patients are asked to stay at home and only come to the clinic just before an appointment time. All pregnant Moms are given Covid-19 tests when they begin labor, to protect themselves, the staff and their new baby. The clinic has not had a single instance of transmission from patient to staff or staff to patient. 

Our staff wear full personal protection, masks and gloves at all times, and we continue to benefit from the generous donation of PPE and COVID-19 tests from our donors and GlobalGiving. Two of our Bali midwives tested positive for COVID-19 and were immediately quarantined at home until they recovered from their mild cases. The source of infection turned out to be family members, not patients or other staff, and there was no transmission to patients they treated, who were all tested. The midwives did not return to work until they received two negative COVID-19 tests in a row, so no patients were ever put at risk.

Between January and May 2021, our Bali midwives delivered 1942 instances of maternal health care, including pre and post-natal care, and oversaw about 150 births. The doctors and nurses also treated 2943 general patients, for a range of conditions, including coughs, fever, infections, STDs, road accidents and animal bites.

We're happy to report that Bumi Sehat has also released a new free handbook on treating and recovering from dengue fever, which is a serious problem across the archipelago, and our Cryotherapy Cervical Screening Program has been running successfully for seven months now. Cervical cancer is a leading killer of women in Indonesia. This program checks women over 40 for early signs of possible cervical cancer. About 25% of women checked show some abormal cells, which are then frozen with liquid nitrogen and removed. We're happy to report that all women who initially showed abnormal cells reported later getting negative Pap Smear test results after the procedure!


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