Pos Kesehatan Mandiri is a community owned health service within the Gang Sadar lokalisasi in the resort town of Baturraden, about 20 minutes drive away from Purwokerto.
It has been created out of the local sex worker community’s own initiative back in 2007, with support from LPPSLH Purwokerto. Initially, the clinic services have not been fully developed but over the years there have been regular mobile HIV and STI screenings at its premises conducted by two local puskesmas (Baturraden 1 and 2) and funded with FHI and later Global Fund money. Since May 2014 Pos Kesehatan Mandiri has been receiving support for its operation by LPPSLH, with funding from SUM II. This means that at the moment services are provided four days a week – on two days by local puskesmas staff supported by Global Fund and on two days by a newly recruited team from LPPSLH, backed by SUM II.
The main services provided at the clinic are HIV and STI testing and conselling, contraception and some general health services and clients are almost exclusively FSWs from within the Gang Sadar lokalisasi and to a minor degree freelance FSWs from the surrounding areas. Clients requiring ARV therapy or suffering from opportunistic infections are referred to one of the three hospitals in the area providing such services, such as the RSUD Banyumas or the RSUD Margono Soekarjo.
The Gang Sadar lokalisasi currently houses about 80 FSWs, who reside and work within the small red-light area. Most of them undergo HIV and STI testing twice a month. All services at the Pos Kesehatan Mandiri are provided free of charge. Sex workers contribute to the operational costs of the clinic by paying a monthly fee of Rp. 25‘000 into a community collection. The LPPSLH has been providing outreach and community strengthening services to the FSWs in the Gang Sadar lokalisasi for many years. The results of these activities, such the establishment of the Pos Kesehatan Mandiri and the monthly monetary contributions for health, are promising and good examples of successful community mobilization. Yet, despite the community involvement, the clinic still heavily relies on donor funding and is as such not economically functional. This means that if the donors withdraw their support the clinic will have to close. Due to its location within the lokalisasi the clinic is rarely used by other MARPs and the general population, which means that there is little potential for expansion. Moreover, it might be just a matter of time until Gang Sadar is shut down, as the influence of conservative religious groups in the area is growing.
The fact that LPPSLH is now partly running the clinic should be seen as a chance. LPPSLH as an organization is well established and has been active for more than 25 years. Their operation mode is quite unique and innovative, having a foundation and a number of linked business units, which has helped the organization to reach sustainability over the years. During the assessment LPPSLH has showed great interest in Angsamerah’s approach on how to run a private clinic business. Hence, the idea was born to establish a private model clinic for sexual and reproductive health outside the lokalisasi, in Purwokerto. The clinic should be accessible and friendly for everyone in need of general health and sexual and reproductive health services, including MARPs. Such a clinic could potentially attract clients from across the region, inluding Cilacap (as there is no private health service in the region providing high-quality, friendly and private sexual health services).
Angsamerah in partnership with SUMII Project’s USAID provided Technical Assistances to the clinic to be able financially sustainable in providing their mission toward high quality and friendly services with affordable prices. The three months project had been completed and without doubt the three months assistances is not yet adequate to fullfill this ultimate goal.
Angsamerah believes their dream is feasible to be achieved, and would like to invite anyone to join to support their dreams and transfom it into a success story. There are various type of collaborations and contributions that can be developed that may benefit mutually to any parties. If you are interested or have questions about this cause please kindly contact us.
Angsamerah rhymes for social entrepreneurship in healthcare services.