Empowering Health in Isolated Places

28 July 2023

The crew on the YWAM KOHA have completed the second of their seven outreaches in Fiji. Reports from the team are incredibly inspirational. We are amazed at all the work they are accomplishing. The team has delivered more than 3,000 health services over the first two outreaches. 

These numbers mean much more than just a good report. Each number is an individual. And each individual has been served, given hope, and empowered toward a healthy future.

One story has touched us all. 

Toward the end of Outreach 2, the team set up triage in the isolated village of Talaulia, on the island of Kadavu. While examining children’s teeth, a woman in her 50s approached them. Asking if there might be a physiotherapist with the team, Kalera explained that her husband had suffered a stroke two years earlier and she was desperate to find help for him. 

As it turned out, Andrew, who was coordinating the dental work, is a physiotherapist. Andrew followed her to their simple home and discovered that half of Josefa’s body was paralyzed. Wheelchair-bound, Josefa cannot move on his own, walk or speak. Kalera had made the arduous journey to the mainland hospital several times but had received little help. Andrew showed them simple and practical exercises to help Josefa’s mobility. 

Later, a trained nurse, Emily, visited them and learned that Kalera had used the same pair of gloves for years to clean up after her husband. So the team on board gathered boxes of disposable wipes, reusable gloves, hand sanitizer, and body wash to give to Kalera. One of the dentists on the ship also came with portable equipment and treated Josefa in his house, including a few extractions.

Kalera made a great impression on the team because of her intense and raw gratitude. Her mood lifted and her countenance lit up. Someone listened and understood their dilemma and offered practical help. And that made all the difference!

Kalera is an incredible woman committed to her husband. She had no knowledge or supplies to care for him. They could not get to the ship, but the team bought the services to them. Together, we were able to empower health and hope for both Kalera and Josefa.

Here are some impact numbers from Outreaches 1 and 2:

  • 680 basic health screenings 
  • 680 dental patients served
  • 20 villages received dental operations 
  • 340 individuals fitted with reading glasses
  • 124 young girls received hygiene education and menstrual packs
  • 1200 individuals received oral health education
  • 603 teeth extracted
  • 335 teeth restored
  • 120 individuals received fluoride treatment
  • 120+ received other dental procedures

Kalera and Josefa’s life demonstrates the devastating consequences of isolation. Their story is all too common in the maritime regions of the Pacific. That is why we are passionate about reaching the isolated, overlooked, and forgotten.

We cannot do this work alone. These outcomes are possible because an army of volunteers gives their time and generous donors partner financially. We are grateful for the many people and organizations who have joined hands and hearts to bring help and hope.