Meeting the needs of low-income and vulnerable women
Yayasan Rama Sesana was founded in 1999 by a Balinese medical doctor Dr. Luh Putu Upadisari (Dr Sari). At first YRS conducted small-scale outreach work for AIDS prevention among high-risk groups, such as male migrant workers. In early 2003, Dr Sari developed a plan to open a comprehensive Reproductive Health Centre designed to meet the needs of low-income and vulnerable women in Bali.
Working in Traditional Markets
To maximise accessibility for women already lacking in time and money Dr Sari focused on the centre of Balinese community life, the market and to make the biggest impact, the biggest market in Bali, Pasar Badung in Denpasar, was selected as the location. In 2004 a clinic was opened at the market and operated successfully, expanding services over the years and becoming an integral mart of the market community.
Disaster struck in February 2016 when Pasar Badung was destroyed by a massive fire and along with it the YRS clinic. Worse still, it disrupted the livelihoods of the the market vendors. The government responded quickly and found temporary locations in Denpasar for the market and along with around 1,500 vendors YRS relocated the clinic to the Tiara Grosir traditional market about one kilometre from the ruined Pasar Badung. Just three months after the fire we reopened at Tiara Grosir and we continue to provide clinical and education services at the market,
We also operate a smaller, second clinic near the Sanur Intaran Traditional Market. Our secretariat office is in South Denpasar.
Empowering Women through Education
Empowering people to know and claim their rights is best done through education – so education is at the heart of the YRS program.
It is all about empowering disadvantaged women to realise their human rights, particularly their rights in relation to sexual and reproductive health.
At the centre of the program to engage with women is our outreach team. Every day they go into the marketplace and talk with women about sexual and reproductive health. Over the years they have become an integral part of the market community, easily recognised in bright uniforms, talking to vendors and shoppers.
They are supported within the community by Peer Educators. These are volunteer women, trained by our outreach team who are a resource in the community who can influence and show women and girls that rights are real and can be part of their community.
In 2014 we launched our mobile clinic program to extend the reach of our program beyond Denpasar. Many women in rural areas of Bali have very limited access to health services and limited knowledge of sexual and reproductive health issues.
We now conduct at least 18 mobile clinics a year, often in very small villages. At each clinic we offer free cervical and breast cancer screening, general health checks and education. On average about 130 people attend a clinic. We believe the program is making a significant difference.
Clinical Health Services
We provide clinical services on a donation basis, including family planning and antenatal care, breast exams, Pap smears, STI and HIV testing, and counselling. Over the 13 years of providing health services we have served over 22,000 individual client who have made more than 72,000 visits to our clinics. We currently see on average around 520 clients per month, of which 68% are women, 26% are men, and 6% are children. Thousands more have benefited from educational programs and outreach work, such as the mobile clinics.
Dr. Luh Putu Upadisari: YRS Founder (1999) and YRS Director, Dr. Sari graduated from Medical School in 1991 and is currently completing a Masters in Sexual and Reproductive Health (Udayana University, Bali). Dr. Sari is a General Practitioner with many years of experience in private and government health care facilities, as well as three years for Yayasan Kerti Praja (another non-profit organisation working with HIV/AIDS) and three years as a Project Manager for the Indonesia HIV/AIDS and STDs Prevention and Care Project (AusAID), working on a prevalence study of STDs and HIV/AIDS. Her work through YRS has been recognised with a number of awards.