Speech by Ms Jean Tan, SIF Executive Director, at the Enhancing Child & Adolescent Psychiatric Services Project, Menur Mental Hospital, Surabaya, Indonesia

Pak Benny Sampirwanto, Head, Cooperation Affairs Bureau, East Java Provincial Government
Dr. Nunik Dhamayanti, Head, Referral and Specific Health Sub-Section, East Java Provincial Health Agency
Dr. Adi Wirachjanto, Hospital Director, Menur Mental Hospital
Dr. Laurentius Panggabean, President Director, Lawang Mental Hospital

Distinguished Guests,

Selamat Pagi (Good Morning)!

Thank you for joining us to witness the start of another Singapore-Indonesia healthcare collaboration. This time, we are working together to enhance the practice of child and adolescent psychiatry in East Java - to enable medical communities here to care for an increasing number of young persons with emotional and behavioural disorders.

With growing recognition of mental health as an emerging development issue, we all need to do more to integrate mental healthcare into general healthcare and social policy. Indeed the Indonesian government in 2014 enacted a new law on mental health and the East Java Provincial Government and health agencies should be commended for leading the way with this initiative.

Over the next three years, a team of Singapore International Volunteers (SIV) - mental health specialists - will help build a core of 40 Indonesian ‘master trainers’ from four public hospitals in East Java. Together, we will work on how to better diagnose mental conditions, develop treatment plans, devise standard systems and processes so that mentally ill children might receive quality care and have good chances of recovery and support to live normal lives.

The 40 ‘master trainers’ will in turn cascade their knowledge to their peers, equipping more individuals with the skills to effectively treat more patients, thereby, building capacity and ensuring the sustainability of the programme. There will also be study visits to Singapore to further promote knowledge exchange and foster professional and personal ties between our healthcare communities, beyond the project.

The Singapore International Foundation (SIF) is grateful to the East Java Provincial Government for this opportunity to work with you. Our cooperation in mental health projects dates back to 2008 with the Lawang Hospital. In thatCommunity-based Geriatric Psychiatry project (2008 to 2013), we had worked with more than 50 doctors and allied healthcare professionals to improve care for mental illness in elderly patients. Since then, the Lawang Hospital has developed several new programmes and activities to support the well-being of geriatric patients. This includes a process on risk management which it is implementing with community partners to facilitate the integration of patients back into the community. They have also gone on to share best practices with the Ministry of Health, including developing a new guideline on Dementia Care and Screening for elderly going on pilgrimage. Lawang Hospital has also built a specially-designed geriatric ward located within their hospital compound, with support from our SIVs.

We congratulate Lawang Hospital on its achievements. And we look forward to building on past successes, as we embark on a new partnership with them and the Menur Mental Hospital. We are also grateful to the Dr Soebandi Hospital and Gambiran Hospital for their support. If this project is successful, the SIF will look into replacing this programme in other communities.

This project would not be possible without the generosity and contributions of our SIVs, a multi-disciplinary team led by Dr Cheryl Loh from the Changi General Hospital and the Institute of Mental Health in Singapore.

At the SIF, we connect international communities to enable collaborations and effect positive changes. Over two decades, through participation in many projects, Singaporeans and Indonesians have come together to share ideas, skills and resources with each other in areas as diverse as health, education, arts and governance. The commitment by both our peoples to work together to improve lives is testament to the spirit of ‘’gotong royong’’ between Singaporeans and Indonesians. The good we can do when we cooperate, coming together to share resources and expertise to solve common social challenges is indeed heart- warming and inspiring. Thank you for your hand in friendship as we build a better world together.

 

 

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