Until the end of 2017, there was no medical care in Lipah, the part of Bunutan where we live. In the event of illness, the patients had to either contact healers in the village, drive 30 km to one of the hospitals in the regional capital of Karangasem, Amlapura, or visit the Rumah Sehat clinic of the Bali Sehat Foundation, which is 15 km from Lipah. These long distances are almost insurmountable obstacles for the people here, who do not own a car, since public transport is unknown in this part of Bali.
To make things worse, there is the problematic situation with the state health insurance: Some doctors and hospitals accept the very low minimum rates for treatments of state-insured patients, others don't. And by no means all the inhabitants of our village even have an insurance.
1. The rumah sehat, the new health post in Lipah
In 2018, thanks to our very generous donators Elvira and Dieter Pietsch from Switzerland, we were able to biuld a small health post, fondly called rumah sehat (house of health) by the Balinese, in the middle of the hills of Lipah, which has been operated from 2018 to March 2020 by medical staff, doctors and nurses of the Bali Sehat Foundation. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, Dr Nengah Suena, the local doctor, who, in the meantime, has finished his education and opened his own little clinic in Lipah, takes care twice monthly on our behalf of the chronical ill and acute cases in our health post. The treatments are free of charge for the patients, again thanks to our dear friends Elvira and Dieter Pietsch who have covered all medical and operational costs of the rumah sehat since its establishment.
The interior of the building is well equipped with hygienically easy to clean ceramic tiles, separate toilet for medical staff and patients, washbasin, desk and chairs, a small glass cabinet for medicines, a stretcher for the examination of the patients and plenty of light.
The new infirmary on the day of the first start-up: The waiting area was sometimes really cramped, and the many-voiced chatter already suggested that the rumah sehat has not only become a house of health, but a place where people can meet and exchange ideas. The Balinese love it.
Dr Suena with patients.
The full outside waiting area in corona times: well aired and all people are wearing masks...
...even the childen.
2. Healthy days
This new medical service is complemented by so-called hari sehat, healthy days. Such a day has already taken place in Bunutan on the 29th of November 2018. A team from the John Fawcett Foundation came to Lipah with one of their famous, fully equipped mobile eye clinics. A total of 315 people were examined on this day, 165 glasses and 100 packets of eye drops were given and 9 cataract operations were performed. It is planned to repeat this event regularly every few years.