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Club Provides Much-needed Health Care to Remote Indigenous Villagers

An indigenous Paiwan senior citizen living in the mountain village of Tuban in southern Taitung County suffers from pain and has difficulty walking due to his deteriorating knee joints and leg muscles. However, he is gradually recovering the ability to stand up from his wheelchair with the support of crutches as a result of the daily physical therapy and massage performed by his in-home caregiver.

Meanwhile, in nearby Daren Township, the director of the local public health clinic reads with concern a report on the health of local schoolchildren. The report alerts him to a significant incidence of delayed development in small hand muscles among the area’s young elementary school students. Previously unnoticed, the phenomenon urgently requires further investigation.

These are just two of the many positive outcomes resulting fromthe compassionate efforts of the College of Medicine student club,NTU Medserve. For more than three decades, members of this club havetraveled toremote indigenous villages in order to providemedical and health care services forthe local residents. Their services includetraining home care providers in the latest rehabilitation techniques,and conducting community health surveys, health examinations, and health education classes. It is efforts such as these that have made the above scenarios possible.

NTU Medserve organizes physical therapy workshops for in-home care workers in isolated indigenous communities. Led by students of the School of Physical Therapy and School of Occupational Therapy, the workshops impart medically-accepted rehabilitation concepts and techniques to the trainees. Supplied with the proper training, the health care providers are then able to offer a higher quality of care to help their patients find relief from pain and regain a degree of independence and self-reliance.

Some NTU Medserve members traveled to Daren Township during the past three summer vacationsto conduct a long-term survey of motor skills development in local children. The survey revealed that a high percentage of seven- to ten-year olds there experience delayed development in hand dexterity. The club has shared the survey’s results with scholars at the College of Medicine and is designing developmental progress charts and treatments so they can help children when they return to the township this coming summer.