• 17/10/22

Floating Health Clinic – Reaching Communities in Remote Areas

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Access to health facilities is one of the basic rights for all people, but it can be challenging for people in hard-to-reach areas such as remote villages deep in the inland of Katingan District in Central Kalimantan. To facilitate access to health services to those communities, especially in villages that are accessible only by water transportation, Katingan Mentaya Project initiated a mobile clinic / health service program – or floating clinic as people call it.

Started in 2020, the floating health clinic provides free health services to communities living far away from Puskesmas (government – run community clinic and health center). “We call it floating health service as the facilities are transported by long boats through the river to reach areas which otherwise would take hours to reach by land, “ said KMP Public Health Specialist Bellini Simangunsong.

KMP partners with local health professionals, the government and local Puskesmas to run the program. Each year, the floating health clinic makes 2-8 visits to every village, depending on the need. Since it was initiated in 2020, the program has provided services to 9 villages and 8 dusun (a community unit smaller than a village).

Services are mainly targeted to people at 15 years of age and above, those who are not served by Posyandu – a once-a-month community health service aimed at children and under-five- year-olds. Services provided in the program includes consultation with a medical doctor or another health professional, and medical check up such as cholesterol , blood sugar and uric acid level. Before the floating health clinic program was introduced, to get health services , people had to wait for their village’s turn to be visited by mantri desa (a government official serving as health personnel who visit villages).

Handayani, a volunteer at the community health center in Satiruk Village, said that she found the program very helpful for adults and elderly people to get health check-up. “I hope this program can be done once a month or once every three month,” she said.

Bellini hoped that through the floating health clinic program, people will care more for their health, and that KMP could make their presence more useful for the communities, especially in the health sector.

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