Singapore and Indonesia Expand Collaboration in Palliative Care to Benefit Another 80,000 Lives in West Java, Indonesia

Three-year healthcare training project marks the Singapore International Foundation’s (SIF) third palliative care initiative in Indonesia and its first in the province of West Java with an expected four-fold increase in number of beneficiaries.

Bandung, Indonesia, 28 January 2019 – With the global rise of terminal illness incidence rates, there is an increasing demand for improved access to palliative care. To address this shared dilemma, the Singapore International Foundation (SIF) is partnering three Indonesian organisations – the Indonesian Cancer Foundation (YKI), its West Java chapter (YKI West Java) and Dr Hasan Sadikin General Hospital Bandung (RSHS) – to launch a three-year healthcare collaboration. The Enabling Palliative Care Trainers (EnPaCT) project seeks to enhance the quality of life of patients faced with life-threatening illnesses, in West Java, Indonesia.

This project in West Java marks the SIF’s third palliative care initiative in Indonesia, following the success of two earlier projects in Jakarta i.e. Palliative Care for Children (2009-2012) and Enhancing Palliative Care Practice (2015-2018). The Jakarta projects saw a total of 62 palliative care practitioners developed as master trainers, who then cascaded their learnings to caregivers and volunteers. The ripple effect of this training benefited at least 20,000 patients and their families. In addition, the homecare model introduced during the Palliative Care for Children project was endorsed by the National Association of Nurses in 2012.

With the train-the-trainers approach, the EnPaCT project is similarly designed to build the capacity of Indonesian palliative care practitioners in the province. It will include four components – biannual training workshops at Basic and Advanced levels, quality improvement, professional sharing at a symposium and the 13th Asia Pacific Hospice Conference in Surabaya, as well as other public education platforms to facilitate patient and caregiver education on palliative care.

Over the next three years, the project will see Singapore International Volunteers (SIV), comprising an interdisciplinary team of healthcare professionals, working closely with their Indonesian counterparts from YKI, RSHS, and other participating health institutions in the province. Through the sharing of knowledge and skills, the SIVs will train local practitioners on comprehensive palliative care modules and practicums. Among this pool of trainees, a core team of 20 master trainers will receive additional training in order to cascade their knowledge to others in the field, thus benefiting the larger community in West Java. This project will also see the re-engagement of five master trainers from the earlier palliative care projects in Jakarta, as mentors to the trainees. The mentorship is expected to ensure relatability of the knowledge-sharing, as well as sustainability of the palliative care projects in Indonesia.

Overall, the West Java project is expected to benefit at least 350 practitioners by March 2022, while also fostering greater intercultural understanding between the people of Singapore and Indonesia.

Associate Professor Peter Pang, Governor, SIF, said: “I am heartened by the friendship between our people and the sustained collaborations between our healthcare professionals in uplifting standards of palliative care in Indonesia. Over the last 10 years, and with today’s launch, this programme will benefit at least 100,000 people in West Java.”

Prof Dr dr Aru Sudoyo, YKI Chairman, said: “It is important to continue to provide the training in Palliative Care for Cancer Patients to the health workers and nursing staff, as well as to the community. Palliative care can improve the quality of life of the patient, and that of the family who is in direct contact with the unwell family member, whether in physical, psycho-social or spiritual ways.” 

Dr Diah Poerwanti, Head, YKI West Java and Organising Committee, said: “We believe that this training is crucial, and we endeavour to carry it out well so that each party will gain more knowledge and skills through the strong collaboration between the SIF, Indonesian Cancer Foundation and Dr Hasan Sadikin General Hospital Bandung. The West Java Chapter of Indonesian Cancer Foundation is honoured to be entrusted with developing palliative care in the West Java province. We hope that through this training, the partnership between the SIF and Indonesian Cancer Foundation, as well as the bilateral relations between Singapore and Indonesia, will deepen.”

Dr R Nina Susana Dewi, President Director, RSHS, said: “Enhancing palliative care in a hospital in West Java is an important development as it can improve access to palliative care across the entire region. One way of doing that is to improve the knowledge and skills of our healthcare workers. By providing a systematic and sustainable educational process for our healthcare workers would boost the provision of palliative care in the West Java province. In view of that, RSHS looks forward to collaborating with our Singaporean counterparts from the SIF to achieve this goal.”

Dr Ramaswamy Akhileswaran, SIV Team Leader and Senior Consultant, Geriatric Medicine, Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, said: “Thanks to the dedication of both Singaporean and Indonesian healthcare communities, we are encouraged by the positive outcomes of the first two SIF projects in Jakarta. This has spurred us on to continue with the Enabling Palliative Care Trainers project in West Java. We hope this collaboration will further enhance palliative care in the region and deepen the heart-warming friendship with our Indonesian colleagues.”

The Enabling Palliative Care Trainers project in West Java marks another milestone in the SIF’s efforts to provide meaningful ways for the people of Singapore and Indonesia to come together to enhance mutual understanding and trust through a wide range of collaborations at the people-to-people level. The SIF’s work in Indonesia began in 1992 primarily in the areas of healthcare and education capacity-building projects, and in recent years included projects in the areas of social entrepreneurship and arts and culture. On another level, our collaborative efforts in improving healthcare also contribute to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 3 in ensuring healthy lives and promoting wellbeing for all ages.



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