Medical Expeditions

Here are our medical expeditions.

 

2018

In September 2018, Andreas, Fenelun, Bailom and his team (two boys from Yaniruma) met in Mabul to distribute LF medicine to the Korowai in the lower part of West Papua (villages near Yaniruma, Manggemale, Mabul and Baigun).

The number of people treated in Mabul alone over two days were 35 people, many of them in the third year of treatment.

A further trip is being planned for October 2019 which will include two doctors.

2017

A fourth medical expedition took place from 31st October to 13th November 2017.  This constituted the third year of Tribal Survival’s five year Lymphatic Filariasis Eradication Programme and was undertaken by  Doctors Lesley and David Hayward, accompanied by Charles and Jane Montanaro, and supported by the World Health Organisation (Sentani).
Click here for more details about our expedition.

2016

A third medical expedition took place from 15 October to 5 November 2016.  Doctors Shabana Bharmal and Nadia Mahmood visited the Korowai to continue the eradication programme, with the ongoing support of the World Health Organisation (Sentani) for which Tribal Survival are very grateful.  

In addition, Tribal Survival investigate the possible benefits of community mobilisation to the Korowai. The purpose of “community mobilisation” is to encourage indigenous peoples to appreciate and retain their culture and traditions. Sadly, the youth of remote indigenous people often do not appreciate the value of their own traditions once they have been contacted by Western people. For example, they may cease to make blowpipes and bows and arrows. They may leave tree houses to live in permanent dwellings made of corrugated iron. Sometimes, it is important to point out the value of what they already have and that may be taken for granted. Once old traditions are lost and not passed on to the next generation, they are lost forever.

2015

The second medical expedition to the Korowai took place from 19 October to 4 November 2015. Doctors Jonny Hodges and Maryke Nielsen, accompanied by Charles and Jane Montanaro, initiated the Lymphatic Filariasis Eradication Programme. The medicine was provided by the World Health Organisation (Sentani) for which Tribal Survival are very grateful.

2014

The inaugural expedition took place from 20 October to 7 November 2014 to the Korowai tribe living in Irian Jaya (West Papua). They were first discovered by a Dutch missionary in 1974. Living in remote jungles, the Korowai were stone-age (they had never seen metal); they still practice cannibalism and live in tree houses up to 30 metres above the ground.

Doctors Nicholas Fazakerley and Maryke Nielsen completed a study of their medical needs, examining and treating more than 240 local people. This was the first time that the Korowai had met a doctor and had seen Western medicine [Link to report attached].

One of the findings was the relatively high incidence of Lymphatic Filariasis, spread by mosquitos, which causes Elephantiasis and later lung fibrosis. This disease causes severe pain, permanent disability as well social stigma affecting an individual’s ability to be an active member of their society. This endemic can be eradicated by providing one dose of medication annually for five years. The purpose of the second expedition was to commence this programme. It is a disease where Tribal Survival can make a real difference.

Please see this link for details of the World Health Organisation’s programme to eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis: http://www.who.int/lymphatic_filariasis/disease/en/