PIAR NTT, Raising Awareness on Sexual and Reproductive Health in East Nusa Tenggara15 May 2018
Society for Development Initiatives and Advocacy (PIAR), one of the Women’s Health Foundation (YKP) assisted groups in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) stated that 78 women in Timor Island died because of cervical cancer and breast cancer in 2015. This was a serious case for residents of District IV, Naikoten village, Kupang, NTT. Unfortunately, the notion that cancer screening will end up in the operation room has discouraged many in seeking information on cancer or have an early cancer detection test.
This situation encouraged PIAR NTT to increase public awareness of sexual and reproductive health in Kupang through several social activities such as community discussion and encourage public to oversight of the implementation of BPJS services.
PIAR NTT through its coordinator Ferdy Boling, started the program by organising a community discussion on women’s sexual and reproductive health on 14th December, 2016.
“It is important to have community discussion like this, critical education on sexual and reproductive health not only important for women but also for public in general,” said Ferdy.
Not only issues on sexual and reproductive health, challenges in the implementation of BPJS in relation with reproductive health were also discussed in the community discussion. The majority of women who attended the discussion hoped that public health center of Bakunase could provide mammography facilities for breast cancer detection.
Based on the community discussion, it is known that most people do not understand about cancer and ways to have an early detection. Furthermore, they are clueless on accessing health facilities using BPJS. With the assistance of Paulus Church and doctors in Kupang, PIAR NTT took the initiative to conduct early detection of cervical and breast cancer for more than 50 people on February 4, 2017. Residents who now understood the importance of an early detection of cancer, welcomed the program. They are no longer afraid to come to the nearest health center for a check-up.
As a follow up program in terms of challenges in BPJS, residents now will oversee health services in their area.
One of the residents in Kupang, Ata Taga said that women’s health needs more attention.
“In many ways, women are continously overlooked, particularly in health care,”said Ata.
Other residents, Lies Dami also emphasized the difficulty in accessing BPJS services in Kota Kupang.
“I cannot imagine how health care services through BPJS in remote areas with poor road infrastructures and the absence of transportation. Even in Kupang which has adequate healthcare facilities, improper services occurred too many times,” said Lies.
Various challenges of healthcare services through BPJS scheme triggered PIAR NTT to conduct surveillance on healthcare services and BPJS scheme with the support of non-governmental organisations’ representatives and five women in Kupang. This effort was welcomed by the residents of Kupang. The group will communicate their findings to BPJS, Ombudsman and the Health Department for further improvements. Gradually, the hospital and BPJS services are improving gradually.
*This story is taken and rewritten from Most Significant Change Story written by Sarah Lerry Mboik (PIAR NTT), used as communication and knowledge management products.