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1

Dec

2008

Access to Health Care

Today I visited with an older women in Waitalawa. Heenmanike is a 63-year old tea plantation worker living and working in the village since she was 21. She came to our clinic for high blood pressure treatment. She has been suffering from the illness for more than 6 years. She has been unable to take regular medicine from the government hospital in the nearest town because the travel is too much for her both physically and financially. The journey is more than a 10 km walk and a 4 km bus ride from her home. Another option is to hire a three wheeler taxi which is very costly for villagers who often live on very little. On the days when there is work, the rate is between $1.75 and $3.75 USD a day depending on international tea prices. During the past years she has not been able to take the medicine regularly.

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She started coming to our clinic in 2007 when the clinic started operating once a month. Our clinic doctors now attend to her with great care, monitoring her condition, giving her regular medicine, and treating the illness with personal care. Today the high blood pressure is under control and she is even going back to work on the tea plantations. She’s healthy and able to earn a salary again.

I’m able to help out at the monthly clinics and I always make a point to talk to the patients like Heenmanike. I enjoy getting to know them better in case someone needs more support form Community Friends. And this is a great way to understand and monitor the living conditions of villagers in Waitalawa.

Thanks,

Deva Ratnakara