SurfAid - The Right to a Healthy Life

Alex Dick-Read

THE SECOND OF THREE NEW FILMS
Many of the world’s best surf destinations are remote and people in remote areas are often forgotten, as delivering services there is costly, time-consuming and requires serious efforts. SurfAid passionately believes that no matter where you live, you have a right to access quality basic services.

Filmmakers Michael Lawrence and David Kruta recently went to the Mentawai Islands and Nias, off Sumatra, Indonesia, to cover SurfAid’s field work in mother and child health, malaria, water and sanitation, and emergency preparedness.

On these islands, more than 70 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line and there is a poor understanding of what constitutes good nutrition and good basic hygiene.

The local people face many life-threatening challenges, with diseases such as acute respiratory infection, diarrhoea and malaria, plus birth complications, taking a serious toll.

Malnutrition is an everyday reality for both children and adults, and natural disasters in the form of tsunamis and earthquakes add to the challenge of improving the health and wellbeing of the village communities. Community-based development is at the heart of SurfAid’s program and approach. Our development assistance model focuses on empowering communities to help themselves and employing local staff to support local strategies and solutions. Almost all our staff are Indonesian nationals who speak the local dialects and understand the culture.

Our staff train and support groups of community health volunteers (kader) who work together with the local health departments to deliver health messages on nutrition, hygiene and sanitation to their neighbours, focusing on at-risk households. These kader are the frontline and they are the link in their own community between the community and the community health services (Posyandu).

This is the second of Lawrence and Kruta’s three film clips.

“There is a great deal of beauty there, in both the people and in Mother Nature,” Lawrence said. “This message is perhaps more important than the statistics … this beauty is rare, the place is magical, and we wanted to keep that in sight. It’s about the human connection and the fact that these people need help.”

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