Indonesia

Indonesia: Health clinics open in Banda Aceh

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Nearly 600,000 people were left homeless in Indonesia's Aceh province following the devastating tsunami. Today, a large majority of them are living in temporary camps throughout the region as local officials and the international aid community work with them to rebuild their homes and livelihoods.

AmeriCares is seeing progress every day. Just this month, two new satellite health clinics have opened to service the needs of those who have been temporarily displaced. These first two are part of a network of more than 50 clinics that are being built in the temporary camps to provide essential health care services, evaluate patients' needs, treat simple conditions and, when necessary, give referrals to larger facilities.

The clinics are a collaborative effort between IOM (the International Office for Migration), which is building them, and AmeriCares, which is equipping them. The project was launched at the request of the Indonesian Ministry of Health as part of its comprehensive efforts to provide healthcare services to the people who have lost their homes.

Jonathan Hodgdon, who is overseeing AmeriCares relief efforts in Indonesia, was in Banda Aceh when the first two clinics opened on May 12 in the nearby villages of Lambaro and Darussalam.

"These clinics will each serve an average of 40 to 50 patients per day from within and around the barrack camps," says Jonathan. "As the rainy season approaches, residents of the barrack camps will be more at risk of respiratory illnesses, diarrhea and infection. The need for essential health care services is especially important at this time."

The equipment AmeriCares is providing includes surgical kits, syringes, stethoscopes and scales, as well as other essential items such as examination beds, tables and chairs, lamps and medical chests.

These satellite health clinics for the people living in camps are just the first step in restoring Indonesia's healthcare infrastructure. Among the other projects AmeriCares is working on is equipping the more permanent rural community health centers (known as puskesmas) through partnerships with Save the Children, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and IOM, as well as equipping the Provincial Health Laboratory in Banda Aceh and providing training for its lab technicians.