Health Needs Spike for Survivors of Indonesia’s Earthquake and Tsunami
Project HOPE says serious health needs are increasing daily as survivors try to come to grips with the aftermath of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia that claimed over 1,580 lives and left tens of thousands displaced.
Project HOPE’s medical team was among the first aid groups to bring medicines and supplies to Palu after the disaster struck Central Suwalesi last week. The team is now caring for dozens of patients daily at the Dolo Community Health Center (Puskesmas Induk Dolo) on the southern outskirts of Palu City.
“Many people we see are still in shock and struggling,” said Dr. Alia Budi of Project HOPE’s Emergency Response Team. “We’re also seeing a lot of upper respiratory tract infections and hypertension. Our medical team is here to help ease this burden and give people an opportunity to talk, address their health concerns and receive much needed medicines,” she added.
Doctors and nurses with the global health and humanitarian relief organization are venturing into neighboring villages that were seriously damaged by the disaster to inform people that health care is available. Patients received care for infections, treatment for existing wounds and new injuries, and serious cases including stroke were referred to a hospital.
“People with existing chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension or asthma are especially at risk in this situation because many will have lost their medications when their homes were destroyed,” said Dr. Budi.
The crisis is being exacerbated because local health care workers are, like their patients, dealing with trauma and displacement. At the Dolo clinic, only two of the 82 staff members reported for work earlier this week. Their whereabouts are still uncertain.
“We see this situation constantly in disasters. Health care workers are not immune to fatalities, injury and post-traumatic stress that are inflicted on families in crises like this. They need our support as much as anyone else here,” said Dr. Budi.
Project HOPE plans to deploy additional medical volunteers from other parts of Indonesia with varying disciplines.
Project HOPE has a long history of health programming in Indonesia. The NGO deployed more than 200 medical volunteers to help in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami, and donated more than $7 million in medicines and supplies. Ongoing programming today focuses on improving maternal and child health. Project HOPE has responded to almost every major disaster worldwide since 2004.
About Project HOPE
Founded in 1958, Project HOPE is a leader in global health and humanitarian relief programs. An international nonprofit organization, we are committed to transforming lives and uplifting communities by empowering health care workers to teach and deliver innovative, lifesaving solutions, every day and in times of crisis. With programs in 25 countries, we work at the epicenter of today’s greatest health challenges including infectious and noncommunicable diseases; disasters and health crises; maternal, neonatal and child health; and the policies that impact how health care is delivered. Learn more at www.projecthope.org.
To support Project HOPE’s Indonesia tsunami response, please visit projecthope.org/indonesia