Partnership delivered essential services to underserved community on a remote island.
Published on: 11-04-2023
The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Sabah (SM), Malaysia, in partnership with the Malaysia Adventist Union Mission (MAUM), recently arranged a medical mission on Pulau Gaya Island, which is located within Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park.
MAUM health ministries director Jane Botabara-Yap and SM health ministries director Doreen Lim oversaw the October 23 initiative with the shared goal of delivering essential health care services to the island’s underserved communities.
Gaya Island, also known as Pulau Gaya in Malaysia, is a 1,465-hectare (3,620-acre) Malaysian paradise. This island is a nature lover’s paradise, only a 10-minute boat trip from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. It has the Bajau name “Gayo,” which means “large,” and occupies almost 15 square kilometers (about 5.5 square miles) with altitudes of up to 300 meters (almost 1,000 feet). Its rocky landscape includes ridges that reach more than 183 meters (600 feet) in height and peak at almost 1,000 feet, contributing to the island’s natural beauty.
Despite its natural beauty, Gaya Island’s remote location makes access to health care difficult for its varied population. Because of the island’s isolation, people have difficulty receiving needed medical treatment. The medical mission aimed to address this health care gap and provide much-needed assistance.
A devoted group of volunteers and sponsors supported this worthy cause. The medical team provided care for more than 150 people. Children in the community were offered various activities, as well as multivitamins, food, and health tracking, while the demographic survey group went from house to house collecting data. Adventist Community Services (ACS), Health Ministries, Adventist Muslim Relations-Sabah, and Children’s Ministry-Sabah collaborated on this project. MAUM ACS director Farrel Gara also contributed to the project.
The primary goal was to provide the islanders with comprehensive medical care. Free consultations, medicines, and basic health checks were offered, addressing a variety of health conditions in the local population. The team also held educational health workshops to provide islanders with information on preventive health care, hygiene, and overall well-being. These seminars were aimed at empowering the community to make informed health decisions, ensuring a long-term impact beyond the mission initiative’s conclusion.
“Pulau Gaya serves as just one of the many places where the importance of the health message needs to resonate. Our heartfelt prayers are that, in the future, an increasing number of people will have access to this vital health assistance, creating opportunities for them to enhance their overall well-being,” Botabara-Yap said.
Adventist organizations in Malaysia worked together to demonstrate the power of unity and compassion. According to organizers, it emphasized the need to reach out to marginalized communities and assist those in need.
The hard work of the volunteers and the generosity of the sponsors left a lasting impression on the local community as the medical mission came to an end, organizers said. “The trip not only met current health care needs but also planted the seeds of enhanced health awareness for a brighter and healthier future for the population of Gaya Island,” they said. “This wonderful project illustrates both organizations’ steadfast commitment to their respective missions and dedication to making a meaningful difference in the lives of those who need it the most. This medical mission on Pulau Gaya Island will live on in the minds and hearts of everybody who took part, as well as the thankful community they served.”