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Plane A

 The Foundation was able to assist Yayasan Harapan Sumba with the purchase of Airline tickets to Bali . We admire the work that is being done to help the people of Sumba . We share with you a recent comment on the current conditions.

Since 2009 YHS has run a program that tries to help children and some adults with disabilities to obtain the surgeries they need to live normal lives.  There are people with many other problems which we try to document, but whom we are not currently able to help.  We are working on ways of addressing some of these needs, but this report focuses on our current program.We have a Dutch doctor and one trained staff member working on this program full-time.  They have identified and our doctor has diagnosed over 800 disabled people in the 42 desas we have covered so far, and we are sure there are at least as many we do not yet know of.

 The most prevalent disabilities are deafness/dumbness (176), blindness or poor sight (127), cerebral palsy or mental problems (151), and severe problems with legs or hips (140). 

 We work with all the hospitals on Sumba and send or take patients to them when there are visiting teams of doctors performing operations, mostly for cleft palate, cataract and thyroid problems.  We have good relationships with all the organizations we know of in Bali and Java that will help coordinate operations or therapy.  Unfortunately only a few have facilities where patients can stay, which makes our sending patients and accompanying adults very expensive. 

 Re-breaking bones, other orthopaedic operations

These are the cases which can’t be operated on in Bali.  There are many reasons for this.  Firstly, and most fundamentally, there is no anaesthetist in Sumba.  There are a couple of senior nurses who have some training, and who can be used for short operations, but no-one who is capable of handling anaesthetic for a long operation.  This is an endemic problem in Indonesia because such a specialist cannot open a private clinic, and therefore can’t make the big money.Therefore, our surgeon (the director also, of the local hospital) gets practice only on small operations and we simply wouldn’t trust him to do more than the most simple things.

Equally important, the dirty conditions in nearly all village houses and surroundings make it unsafe to send anyone home after a major operation until they are completely free of any chance of infection.

 Yayasan Kasih Peduli Anak (YKPA), which is a Bali-based charity running a wonderful orphanage close to the main hospital there, is helping us enormously by welcoming into the orphanage children we send to Bali for operations.  They house and feed them, take them to the hospital for all the many visits before and after their op, and work closely with the doctors there to make sure they get the best care.  The first children we have sent under this arrangement are Yuli and Alfred, who both needed a leg rebroken and straightened.  

 After many months of waiting for the orthopedic team to return to Bali, both these children have had their operations, and are now going back to the hospital every two days for x-rays, their bandages changed, etc.  We owe YKPA a huge debt of thanks for doing all of this work for us.  The children have already been with them for two months and it will be several weeks more before they can return to Sumba.

 Plastic Surgery  In May, we will be sending five people  to Bali for plastic surgery with a team coming to the John Fawcett Foundation, and we are hoping that there will be room at YKPA to house them, but if not, we will have to find a cheap lodging place for them, and probably send one of our staff to take care of them.  These people have all suffered either from severe burns or from a broken bone followed by severe infection and contracture. 

Eye operations A team is now coming over regularly from Bali to do basic cataract and pterigium operations.  We handle this in the same way as the cleft palates, in terms of getting the information out through our channels and using the other NGO’s also to spread the word.  However, there is a large number of patients, over 50 I believe, who have a more serious problem and need to go to the John Fawcett Foundation in Sanur, Bali, for an operation.   These ops can happen at any time, as the JFF team is always there, but depends on housing and we hope to organize this with YKPA when our two long-stay patients come home.


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