Singapore International Volunteers Help Build New Standards of Palliative Care to Relieve Suffering of Terminally-Ill Children in Jakarta

The Singapore International Foundation marks 20 years of friendship with the Indonesian community, steadfast in its efforts to reach out and touch the lives of both volunteers and beneficiaries in its mission to bridge communities, improve lives and build a better world.

Jakarta, 29 November 2012 – The gotong royong or “mutual cooperation” spirit underpins a 20-year friendship between the Singapore International Foundation (SIF) and Indonesia. Over the years, SIF volunteers and Indonesians have worked on a wide range of projects to share knowledge, skills and resources, and together they have uplifted lives and built enduring friendships.

Today marks the success of yet another partnership between the SIF and Indonesian NGO, Rachel House (Yayasan Rumah Rachel) to improve care for terminally ill children. The three-year project sought to enhance medical and nursing staff knowledge and clinical skills for in-patient and homecare palliative services for children.

Singapore International Volunteers (SIV) comprising a multidisciplinary team of doctors, nurses, psychologists and social workers trained a core team of nurses at Rachel House as well as medical professionals from other healthcare institutions. In turn, they have trained other Indonesian healthcare professionals on how to employ a holistic approach to palliative care which includes relieving suffering in all areas of a patient’s life and integrating the emotional support of family into their plan of care.

The train-the-trainer programme has established Rachel House as one of the first paediatric palliative care service providers in Indonesia. Today, the Rachel House homecare model is endorsed by the National Association of Nurses (PPNI or Persatuan Perawat Nasional Indonesia) as the homecare model to be replicated in Indonesia. As a result of Rachel House-SIF training, Dharmais Cancer Hospital has strengthened its processes and integrated palliative care into the treatment of terminally ill children. Some of the largest public hospitals have since announced their intention to start their own paediatric palliative care units.

Ms Lynna Chandra, Founder of Rachel House, shares, “When we started out, while we knew that palliative care was needed in Indonesia, none of us knew what it looked like, nor how we could train our team of medical professionals. On our own, Rachel House couldn’t have brought in a multidisciplinary team of medical professionals to all teach at the same time and impart the knowledge and key essence of palliative care. The SIF-led training helped us gain credibility with the medical community in Jakarta, especially in the early days and the project made it possible for Rachel House to develop and deliver a quality service much faster than we could have had on our own."

Through this collaboration between the Singapore and Jakarta medical communities, terminally ill children in Jakarta now have better access to clinical as well as emotional care and support, giving them a chance to live their final days with comfort.

Ms Jean Tan, Executive Director of Singapore International Foundation, says, “Far more good gets done when we work together, leveraging each other’s strengths, to employ the most creative and effective solutions to social challenges. The successful partnership between the SIF and Rachel House exemplifies the Indonesian culture of gotong royong. We like the idea of reciprocity in cooperation, that learning is two-way. In sharing, we often gain as much as we give, if not more. We are grateful to our Indonesian partners and programme alumni for their friendship and look forward to new ways to work together and strengthen ties.”



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