NPR

A Young Doctor Learns How Hard It Is To Give Health Care To Everyone

The government of Indonesia wants coverage for everyone by 2019. As Dr. Jacklyn Adella is finding out from her stint on a remote island, many challenges lie ahead.
Dr. Jacklyn Adella speaks with the father of a girl being treated for wounds after she was kicked by a horse. Source: Tim Matsui for NPR

It was mid-morning and many chairs beside the outpatient clinic were uncharacteristically vacant.

"I think people waited because of the rain," Dr. Jacklyn Adella says. It was late January, the height of the Indonesian monsoons, and even the relatively arid island of Sumba faced daily downpours.

Adella settled into a small, air-conditioned room at Waitabula's Karitas Hospital as her first patient entered: a 17-year-old, his foot, stitched from a recent motorbike injury, had become infected.

As a nurse squeezed pus from the wound, without anesthetic, the teen writhed. Under-resourced hospitals like Karitas use materials sparingly, including highly regulated painkillers.

Adella gave him two options: have the wound opened and cleaned that afternoon in the operating room (the better choice) or hope antibiotics alone would do the trick. He chose the

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR3 min readPolitics
How To Start A Revolution
Revolutions don't just happen. A data-driven approach to studying activism suggests two characteristics can vastly increase chances of success.
NPR2 min readPsychology
Poll: Americans Say We're Angrier Than A Generation Ago
The latest NPR-IBM Watson Health poll found that 29% of people said they were often angry when checking the news. Another 42% said the news sometimes made them angry.
NPR2 min read
Catholic School Fires Gay Teacher To Stay In Indianapolis Archdiocese
The school says not terminating the teacher would have resulted in "our forfeiting our Catholic identity." Last week, a nearby Jesuit school decided to split with the archdiocese instead.