Venturing down the single paved road of Kiribati’s main atoll Tarawa, you will notice many things. There are laughing children, absentmindedly playing in the shallows of the opaque lagoon, smiling women selling their homemade wares in small thatched huts, and proud men emptying the day’s catch from the boats now resting at the high tide mark. It is a picturesque setting and an example of Pacific island life as it existed many years ago. Somehow, this seemingly dreamlike image is still real here today.
As with every culture, especially those built in the midst of thousands of square miles of ocean, there are certain undercurrents that ripple along somewhat unseen. One of these, and possibly the most vital to keeping all the laughter and smiles abounding is the intertwining of hospitals and village-based health care provisions. To the traveling surfer, it’s easy to understand how important accessible medical care can be with something as simple as a reef cut on your foot. Now imagine living here.
This is where an organization like Tupaia MediTrak is able to make a difference. Funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s InnovationXchange program (DFAT) and through the mobile surveying of 100’s of medical facilities throughout the Pacific Islands, these people have created an interactive online mapping interface that allows local government, international donors, and local healthcare workers and communities to access vital information regarding their health resources. There is also public access for all who wish to take a look. The data feed is live too, with many of the facilities providing updates on a daily basis through electronic tablets. It’s a pretty innovative system for this part of the world.
The mapping itself is pretty epic. It could almost double as a tool to find the safest bet when planning a trip to the Pacific on a surf trip. Chances are you have been or will be searching for waves in places like the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Kiribati, Timor Leste and Vanuatu someday.
You can sample the Tupaia MediTrak mapping interface by heading to www.tupaia.org