Ikundi mother with a baby cassowary
Because of the extreme remoteness of the Ankave people –two to three days walk from the nearest town with infrastructure such as electricity or running water, having a Community Health Worker living in Ikundi and hosting rural outreach makes an immense difference. Through your generous support, we have been able to sustain the presence of a health worker, Joel, throughout this year and most of last.
To support Joel with clinical consultation for more complex cases and to provide higher level of services, we support outreach visits from our partner Provincial Health Authority of Eastern Hihglands. When the seasoned outreach workers visit, as they did in April this year, people get more care and and Joel gets clinical mentorship to improve his practice and learn new skills. This makes him better prepared to serve and teach the community in Suowi Valley.
We combine these outreach visits with input from conservation biologists as well as introduction of invited technology such as solar equipment for the village midwives and clinic, satellite communication, as of course, low fuel, low emission cookstoves.
The preparation for these visits takes months: from gathering resources from our generous supporters to pay for the charter flight, to identifying clinical staff ready to live in the rugged wilderness without electricity or running water for 7-10 days, to gathering as much medicine and supplies as possible that will fit within the Pac750 aircraft. Vaccines pose a special challenge with cold chain requirements. Because as yet we have not afforded a solar vaccine fridge, we can bring in only enough vaccines that can be stored in a cooler and administered within 24 hours; a photo included here illustrates this.
The clinical calculus is not easy as our teams may find surprises on the ground, especially from families dwelling alone, deep in the forest who have been previously unknown to us, but come forward seeking help when they hear the Pac750 land. We always have to make due with what we have once we arrive in Ikundi, but with your support, are often able to follow up with necessary supplies and services. One situation we are encountering now is long term rehabilitation possibiliteis for Anya (not her actual name), a five year old girl the size of a typical 18 month old, who has one stray eye, and has lost use of her legs after having suffered untreated meningitis some years back. Anya is undernourished and needs special, sustained attention if she is to walk again. Thanks to your interest, we are able to maintain the tenuous contact with this remote family in order to guide them towards her recovery with specialist physical therapy assistance and continued clinical assessment and support.
The cookstoves delivered so far are serving the early adopters well. Many of the users have dental problems that make eating food that is not cooked thoroughly hard to do; these users in particular appreciate these fast-cooking rocket stoves. Users report gathering far less wodd, and appreciation for cutting fewer trees of the forest. In the photos attached, you can see a young endangered cassowary with an Ankave woman. The way this magnificent wild bird is free yet dwelling in her compound we feel is an excellent visual representation of the relationship the people we serve have with the natural world. Thank you so much for helping us to help them continue nuturing that special realtionship, to the benefit of us all.
Please note that we continue to offer specialty Arabica coffee wild grown in Papua New Guinea for sale on our website. Your purchase there, as your donations here, on Global Giving, serves as a program donation. As from our inception, all management serve as volunteers, assuring your precious funds go directly to support of this work on the ground.
Indigenous dog with Ikundi household compound
A Community Health Worker with polio vaccines