HealthWorks Program Helps Women in Indonesia
Health Works is a collaboration of Project HOPE and manufacturers designed to bring health education and services to women working in factories within the developing world.
Jon Brack, a volunteer photojournalist from Washington D.C., spent two weeks traveling with our Board of Directors delegation to the Philippines and Indonesia starting in late October 2014. Project HOPE established a country office in Indonesia in 2005 coinciding with our disaster response efforts following the Indian Ocean tsunami and continues to operate health programs in the country today.
Subang City sits amongst endless rows of rubber tree orchards and vast rice paddies about a three hour drive east of Jakarta, Indonesia. Over the past couple of decades, some of those paddies have been transformed into huge buildings, garment factories making clothing for American, Japanese and Korean markets. The Project HOPE Board of Directors delegation was able to visit two of these factories to witness firsthand the exciting new HealthWorks program that HOPE is conducting in Subang.
HealthWorks is a collaboration of Project HOPE and Indonesian Health Care Clinics designed to bring health education and services to the women working in these factories. They are often in a low socio-economic group with little access to health care services, particularly concerning maternal and reproductive health. HealthWorks is designed to target this underserved population in their workplace by increasing the capacity of clinics that already exist in the factories and providing educational programs on topics such as the importance of breastfeeding and family planning.
The delegation visited the Daenong factory first, a sprawling complex employing over 3,000 workers making clothing on 48 production lines, 88% of whom are women. They now have a private location to pump and store breast milk during work hours inside of a clinic located directly off of the production floor. During lunchtime educational programs organized by a team of Factory Health Volunteers disseminate health information and act as role models for healthy behaviors.
At the slightly smaller Hansoll factory, the delegation witnessed even more of what HealthWorks has to offer, highlighted by a dance performance on hand washing techniques given by a team of energetic and excited Factory Health Volunteers. It was also clearly apparent at both locations that management was fully supportive of the program, knowing that happy and healthy employees are better and more consistent workers. Because of this support, HealthWorks expanded by one additional factory in August and will hopefully add two more by the end of the year, reaching 14,867 female workers to the beneficial programs.
A highlight of the day was also a ceremony for the delegation at the mayor’s office in Subang, complete with a beautiful traditional dance performance and the exchanging of gifts. The delegation with their Indonesian Health Care Clinics partners then went inside and presented the Health Works program to a packed room of public employees excited to learn more. It was great to see the local government’s support for the new program.