Speech by Ms Jean Tan, SIF Executive Director, at the Enhancing Palliative Care Practice Jakarta Project Loa Signing Ceremony in Balai Agung, Jakarta

Your Excellency Anil Nayar Kumar, Singapore Ambassador to the Republic of Indonesia
Ibu Veronica Basuki Tjahaja, Chairman of the Indonesian Cancer Foundation Jakarta Chapter
Ms Lynna Chandra, Founder of Rachel House
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Selamat Pagi (Good Morning)!

Thank you for joining us today to witness the launch of a very meaningful programme to enhance the practice of palliative care in Jakarta. The need for palliative care is growing on a global scale. According to the WHO (World Health Organisation), the estimated number of people in need of palliative care at the end of life is 20.4m of which 6% (1.2m) are children. Yet only 1 in 10 people who need palliative care currently receives it. In Singapore, with a rapidly aging population, we are working hard to improve the quality, accessibility and affordability of palliative care. Indonesia’s challenge, we understand, is the lack of certified physicians in palliative care, with a projected 10,000 new cancer cases annually in Jakarta alone.

This collaboration is therefore needful and beneficial. Together, the SIF and Singapore International Volunteers in partnership with the Jakarta Cancer Foundation and Rachel House will work to raise the capability and capacity of Jakarta’s medical communities to care for its terminally ill. Over the next three years, volunteer palliative care specialists from Singapore will partner with Indonesian medical professionals from ten public hospitals in Jakarta to work with patients who suffer from end-stage illnesses. Additionally, SIF and its project partners the Cancer Foundation and Rachel House will organise yearly Palliative Care Leadership Roundtables to engage leaders of public health institutions in discussion on policy and management issues. They will also run annual Palliative Care Symposiums, to share knowledge and experiences with the larger Indonesian healthcare communities, raising awareness and standards of palliative practice.

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. We had a very successful partnership with Rachel House from 2009 to 2012 that raised standards of Paediatric Palliative Care and saw its homecare model endorsed by the National Association of Nurses. Today, we celebrate the start of yet another meaningful palliative care programme with the Indonesia Cancer Foundation (Jarkarta). The commitment by both Singaporeans and Indonesians to work together to improve lives is testament to the spirit of ‘’gotong royong’’ between Singaporeans and Indonesians. Its shows the good we can do when we cooperate, coming together to share resources and expertise to solve common challenges.

Our heartfelt gratitude goes out to the Cancer Foundation, Rachel House and the 10 National Referral and District Hospitals in Jakarta, for the privilege of working with you to uplift lives. This project would not be possible without the generosity of spirit of Dr Ramaswamy Akhileswaran, an expert in the field of palliative care, and his multi-disciplinary team of Singapore International Volunteers. We want to thank the Department of Health Jakarta for their support, as well as and His Excellency Ambassador Anil Kumar Nayar for gracing this special occasion.

I’d like to leave you with a thought from Helen Keller - Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.



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