By Ahmad Cholis Hamzah from GNFI
The floating hospital Ksatria Airlangga, which began its maiden voyage in September 2017, has so far visited various islands, particularly remote islands, delivering health services to the public. This little ship was created by expert traditional ship builders in Takalar sub-district, South Sulawesi province, which has long been a destination for well-known ethnic group Bugis sailors. It weighs 117 tons, is 30 meters long, and has a 7.2-meter breath and medical equipment within. She was the result of intense discussions among a small group of medical doctors - alumni of the Universitas Airlangga Surabaya School of Medicine in Indonesia - who are particularly concerned about how to deal with the problems of providing health services in remote islands, particularly in East Java and the eastern part of Indonesia.
Since then, the floating hospital has visited 69 islands with 2,200 volunteers, treating around 16,000 patients, including those affected by natural disasters in West Tenggara and Central Sulawesi. Recently, a team of doctors from the Faculty of Medicine at Universitas Airlangga Surabaya joined the mission of the Islands Maternal and Child Health Service Program, sailing to 11 islands in Sumenep Regency (East Java) and delivering up to 15 newborns.
Alumni of Universitas Airlangga have agreed to broaden the ship's function beyond simply providing medical assistance to the public, and she could be used as a research center where alumni from other disciplines, such as social sciences, conduct research on social issues such as poverty, education, economic growth, local economic development, and so on, in areas where the ship disembarks. It might become an Integrated Societal Services Center where researchers can discover social problems, propose remedies, and present their results to the government.
Indeed Indonesia, with its archipelagic structure and around 17,000 islands, has its own issues when it comes to delivering social services to its dispersed population. Indeed, supplying health services to distant islands, for example, is a significant difficulty.
Although, in terms of size, this floating hospital is a "small" ship when compared to a floating hospital belonging to the United States of America, such as the 272.49-meter-long USNS (United States Navy Ship) Mercy or the 122-meter-long Dr. Soeharto hospital ship belonging to the Indonesian Navy. While the Ksatria Airlangga is only 30 meters long, the ship has received so much praise from the general public that some of the infants born on board have been called after the name of this floating hospital, "Ksatria Airlangga."
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