Who are we?
The Sumba Project was founded in 2013 by a small group of Griffith University medical students. We work in conjunction with The Sumba Foundation, Surfaid Sumba and Hope4Health with the aim of improving health outcomes on the island of Sumba. We are seeking to achieve genuine and sustainable change by forging a lasting partnership with the people of Sumba. Check out the video above or the other videos in the media tab for more information on our story. For more information on The Sumba Foundation or SurfAid Sumba head to www.thesumbafoundation.org and www.surfaid.org respectively.
Our first project, the Malaria Nets Program, was implemented in 2014. On its first annual visit to Sumba, in conjunction with Surfaid Sumba the Sumba Project distributed malaria nets along with providing education on malaria prevention. This has been hugely successful in reducing infection rates. In the region where the nets were distributed, a 75 per cent reduction was observed in the number of diagnosed cases between the wet seasons of 2013-14 and 2014-15.
In 2015 and 2016 we focused on children’s health. We developed the book ‘Miss Doggy’s adventures in Sumba’ as a tool for teaching children about basic hygiene. On our 2015 trip to Sumba we field-tested the book in schools. Our initial testing showed the book has a significant positive educational impact, with an average improvement of around 60 per cent in the children’s knowledge after just one reading of the book. Prior to our 2016 trip, The Sumba Project crew developed an additional text to accompany the broader concepts detailed in the first book. Our second book titled "Miss Doggy's Malaria Adventures" focussed specifically on malaria, a disease which causes a devastating degree of morbidity and mortality on the island. Production of these two texts was stepped up and they were further field tested and distributed to schools and maternal health clinics across the Gaura region of south west Sumba.
After another successful trip in 2016 the team was approached by Dr Claus Bogh PhD, malaria expert and Health Program Director of the Sumba Foundation. Dr Bogh has developed a comprehensive malaria diagnosis and management course based in Sumba, which has now educated over 1000 government and NGO health officials from across East Nusa Tenggara. Through implementation of this course Dr Bogh and his team have brought about significant drops in the prevalence of malaria through improved health worker identification and treatment of the deadly disease.
Tuberculosis is endemic in Indonesia with over 400,000 new cases of the disease diagnosed every year. With this in mind, the next step for Dr Bogh was teaming up with Dr Stephen Nolan OAM (Respiratory Intensivist), The Sumba Project and local government to create a tuberculosis course to educate NGO and government health workers in a similar fashion to the already highly successful malaria course. Over the past 3 years The Sumba Project team have worked hard to produce the literature for the proposed 14 day course. After a myriad of iterations and constant course upgrades since 2016, the first fully fledged pilot course is scheduled for late August 2019 and the team couldn't be more excited to see it rolled out!