Hand in hand for good health in Indonesia
Last year Dr Reece Hinchcliff of the Centre for Health Services Management began collaborations with the Indonesian Ministry of Health, the Indonesian Public Health Association and two Indonesian universities to strengthen the Indonesian health system and improve population health.
On his most recent trip as a Visiting Professor at Diponegoro University in Semarang, Central Java, Dr Hinchcliff presented on a range of topics, including how to develop systematic literature reviews and advocate using their results in order to develop more informed public health policy.
“Links to Indonesia are vital as they are our neighbour, have an enormous population and are struggling to implement the world’s largest single payer health insurance scheme,” said Dr Hinchcliff.
With a population of over 260 million people, and having recently transitioned from the low- to middle-income bracket, Indonesia faces unique and complex health-related challenges. Several problems common in low-income countries still exist, including infectious diseases, malnutrition and maternal mortality. A number of additional health concerns have emerged with the growing middle-class such as non-communicable diseases, mental health problems, and illness related to unhealthy behaviours.
After launching the Jaminan Kesehatan Nasional (JKN) in 2014 with the view to make basic care available to all citizens by 2019, the Indonesian government are now faced with a number of structural and systematic issues that must be addressed in order to reduce the health inequalities prevalent among the Indonesian people.
“Our focus is on building capacity amongst Indonesian academics and policy makers. We are genuinely trying to make ourselves obsolete – we want to give Indonesian people the tools to make more informed decisions to improve their own population health outcomes,” Dr Hinchcliff noted.
Dr Hinchcliff will return to Indonesia in July this year to continue collaborations with Indonesian partners and provide further training to academics and policy leaders. The aim of the collaboration is to develop a national training program that can be implemented on a larger scale to researchers, policy makers and health practitioners in provinces across the whole country.
Plans for establishing staff and student exchange programs for researchers from UTS and Diponegoro University to gain international experience are also in the early stages of discussion.