In the poor rural villages of the developing world, the most basic of health clinics are scarce. Often, providing a clean environment for childbirth, or treating the most basic illnesses and injuries are close to impossible. In the communities where Tia works, most family homes have dirt floors and no doors or windows. A daily struggle to raise enough food using unmechanized farm tools just to feed the family occupies much of their time. Village farm families live up to a twelve hour walk from the nearest hospital and vehicles are nonexistent. Women still die in child birth and young children are lost to diseases compounded by undernourishment.
The lack of essential services can mean the difference between life and death, not only for an individual, like a subsistence farmer, but also for the vulnerable family. For that farmer, the arduous long journey over rough mountain roads to the nearest medical care means that a major laceration or fracture can be a death sentence. The loss to his family compounds with the resulting downward poverty spiral of malnutrition and disease. With a trained health care technician who has a modest medical kit, the farmer can be sufficiently stabilized to endure the trip to a regional hospital, thus mitigating the risk to the susceptible family.
To guarantee long-term village health, the most effective way is to train local health care workers and give them the essential tools necessary to treat common illnesses and injuries. The key to long-term solutions involves implementing a sustainable program that teaches villagers the skills they need and provides them with links to necessary local resources, so they can become self-determining.