Jayapura, Jubi – A 10-hour long journey from Afimabul village to Danowage, a citizen of Korowai tribe, Daniel Hatil, has take while holding his son, Puti Hatil (three years old), to seek treatment for his suffering from ulcers on his left cheek that has created a hole.
Daniel Hatil traveled for hours in order to get to the clinic of a missionary Trevor Christian Johnson in Danowage, for his son to get medical treatment from the missionary’s wife. There is no medical personnel and service in his village.
“I left the village at seven in the morning, and arrived at Danowage at 5 pm. I spent night in there and had not spoken much to Mr. Trevor. The next day he told me to pack my luggage and take Puti to Jayapura,” Daniel Hatil to Jubi, last weekend.
But Daniel initially refused to go to Jayapura because he had no money, and did not know anyone nor ever get to the city. Daniel asked his son to be treated at the clinic then to take him home immediately to Kampung Afimabul.
“But Mr. Trevor said the ulcer on Puti’s cheek was getting worse, and he had to be taken to Jayapura for further treatment. So three days later I went to Jayapura using the plane that Mr. Trevor had prepared, he took care of everything, I just packed and go,” he said.
Arrived in Jayapura on Tuesday (October 3), Daniel with his wife and son, Puti who was sick, also Puti’s sister, picked up by solidarity activists in Jayapura who care about health conditions in Papua.
“We were immediately taken to Dian Harapan Hospital, so Puti got treatment. The ulcers on Puti’s cheeks had been a month. Initially it was only small a red spot, which came after we went home looking for sago worms in the garden,” he said.
He thinks the red spots will heal in two or three days. But it was grow bigger and fester. When he examined the condition of his son, Puti’s inner cheek was wounded.
“His Mother then broke the boils on Puti’s cheeks, but then we saw the hole inside. I hope Puti will be recovered soon so I would return to my village, I do not want to come here, but my son need treatment,” he said.
First time ever
For Puti, this is the first time Daniel ever left his native village and went to Jayapura. He never traveled out of Korowai.
He got many new experiences in the capital city of Papua Province. For the first time in his life Daniel Hatil saw himself how a four-wheeled vehicle is, and the two wheels, as well as what it feels like to eat rice.
“In the village, we only eat bananas, sago, fish, red fruits, vegetables geds, vegetable genemo every day. This is the first time I eat rice, I feel like to eat banana more,” he said.
Health care card
Secretary of Rimba Papua Care and Education (TPKP) Team, Soleman Itlay, one of the health activists who accompanied Puti during the treatment in Jayapura, said that when he arrived at Dian Harapan Hospital, the hospital asked whether Puti was using a Papuan Health Card (KPS) or BPJS Health.
“He do not have KPS or BPJS,” said Soleman, who has been proud of the benefits of Korowai community because of the cooperation between the Papua Health Office so Puti has received treatment.
The cost of Puti treatment is borne by the Papua Health Office and donors. He hopes, the hospital provides maximum care to Puti.
“In some areas, friends are also raise funds to help to treat Puti,” he said.
After Puti got initial treatment, he is now in the period of nutrition improvement. “From the doctor’s information, the development of Puti condition will be observed in the coming days, because there are plans for surgery,” he said.
Poor health services in Korowai
Soleman Itlay, highlighted the case of Puti Hatil, a three-year-old boy who suffered from ulcers on his left cheek through a hole, illustrated the poor health of the Korowai tribe in southern Papua.
The Korowai region is in the five border regencies of Boven Digoel, Asmat, Mappi, Yahukimo, and Pegunungan Bintang.
“There are still a lot of people and children in Korowai are suffering, not receiving health services,” Soleman told Jubi.
According to him, Korowai children should get a decent education; at least they can become educators or health workers, to serve their own community.
He also said, health funds in Papua should be divided not only for the service of official health care office, but also to those who work on the ground voluntarily, without asking anyhing from the government.
Chairman of Remote Humanitarian Community Care (Kopkedat) in Papua, Yan Akobiarek said that it has been two years they addressed the health and education issues in Korowai.
“A few months ago, we had a discussion with the Papua Health Office, and the head of department sent three officers to Korowai to retrieve the initial data,” Yan said.
The Papuan Health Office promised at that time to send medical teams to Korowai. But until now it has not ralized.
“Last July, I spent a month in Korowai and the community asked me this question (the promise made by Health Office), I am confused how to answer,” he said.
Now, with the case of Puti Hatil, he said, there has been very crowded public discussion; and officials want to visit Puti in Dian Harapan Hospital.
“Even the minister may probably come to see Puti. While in Korowai there are still many who need help,” he said.
Korowai tribe he continued, mostly malnourished because they only consumed sago and banana from the forest, sago worms, and anything that nature provided.
“There is no other nutritional intake; we hope that in the future, Korowai children will also get immunizations, such as children in other areas. Papua Health Office and the health ministry shall immediately deploy medical teams to Korowai. The Korowai tribal area is large and inhabits with many sub-tribes,“ he added. (tabloidjubi.com/Zely)