Community participation plays a significant role in helping the BOS Foundation achieve its vision in orangutan conservation. To strengthen our support to the local communities around the Bukit Batikap Conservation forest, in July the BOS Foundation held a free community health service for the people of Tumbang Naan and Tumbang Tohan villages in Murung Raya Regency, Central Kalimantan.
Remote Village in the Headwater of Joloi River
Tumbang Naan and Tumbang Tohan are villages around Bukit Batikap Conservation Forest, our release location for rehabilitated orangutans from Nyaru Menteng. Both villages are situated at the headwaters of the Joloi River, with limited transportation access. It takes 2 days to reach the villages from Puruk Cahu, the capital of Murung Raya Regency. The trip which mostly comprises travelling by river is not cheap either. In Tumbang Naan and Tumbang Tohan, soaring fuel prices reach Rp. 25,000 to Rp. 35,000 per litre, compared to the price in Java which is Rp. 6,500, hence transportation costs are prohibitive.
The great distance from the major city or town centres coupled with limited access have made healthcare a luxury in Tumbang Naan and Tumbang Tohan. The local health center is the only place where the residents can get access to a basic healthcare service. Due to the shortage of medical staff and equipment, residents more often resort to traditional medicine or consume any medicine they can find in the market. In this area which suffers from high cases of malaria, the health issue is even more complex with the minimum health awareness amongst the residents.
The BOS Foundation Cares
Together with the Health Department of Murung Raya Regency, the BOS Foundation Nyaru Menteng team dispatched a General Practitioner, volunteer Dr. Loyce Risnauli, to the two remote villages in the heart of Kalimantan. The alumni of the Christian University of Indonesia felt the calling to dedicate her vacation time to help the people in remote areas.
Tumbang Tohan was the first of the two villages to receive the free treatment. Held at the local healthcare center, the event was received positively by the residents. Many came with their family, and those who were not able to go to the health center were visited and treated directly at their homes.
60 people received healthcare treatment during the event. Most were suffering from skin complaints, accute respiratory infections, hypertension, and rheumatism. Some cases included diseases which infected kidneys, were likely results from medication errors over a long period of time. Upon seeing this trend, Dr. Loyce also delivered the information on the impact of taking drugs carelessly. Similar to Tumbang Tohan, the residents of Tumbang Naan also enthusiatically joined the program. Medical complaints found here were also similar.
In Tumbang Naan, Dr. Loyse helped by Darwadi, a local medical staff member, served 96 patients. Village Chief of Tumbang Naan, Sumardi A. Gaman, has expressed his gratitude for the free healthcare service initiated by the BOS Foundation Nyaru Menteng, claiming that it was extremely needed by the people in remote areas such as Tumbang Naan.
Sustainable Empowerment and Awareness Raising
Apart from healthcare services, Nyaru Menteng also runs programs on community empowerment and education. The Communication and Education Division at Nyaru Menteng also took part in this free healthcare event; socialising the importance of orangutan conservation to the community through stickers, leaflets, and posters.
The Community Development team have implemented several programs within the two villages. Several trainings, such as oyster mushroom farming and tempe production were held to improve the economy and nutrition in this remote area.
Nyaru Menteng will keep up efforts to develop activities which can benefit the communities. We hope the mutually supportive atmosphere between the BOS Foundation and the communities can support ongoing orangutan and habitat conservation efforts.
Text by: Monterado Fridman Communication and Education Coordinator – Nyaru Menteng