Singapore-Indonesia Collaboration to Enhance Palliative Care Profession in Jakarta

Singapore International Foundation (SIF) partners Indonesian Cancer Foundation and Rachel House to enhance the skills of 50 palliative care master trainers in Jakarta.

Jakarta, Indonesia, 20 January 2015 – Non-communicable, life-threatening medical conditions are on the rise in Indonesia, with a projected 10,000 new cancer cases annually in Jakarta alone.* Of these, an estimated 7,000 cases are expected to be at the incurable stage at the point of diagnosis - presenting a growing demand for palliative care services. The Singapore International Foundation (SIF)’s launch of a three-year training programme to enhance the practice of palliative care in Jakarta in partnership with the Indonesia Cancer Foundation, Jakarta (YKI DKI) and Rachel House (RH) aims to help improve care for the terminally ill in Jakarta - Indonesia’s largest city of over 10 million residents.

SIF’s Enhancing Palliative Care Practice project will make possible the sharing of palliative care knowledge and skills between the medical communities of the two countries through capacity building activities and professional sharing platforms. Over the next three years, palliative care specialists from Singapore will partner with Indonesian medical professionals from 10 Jakarta’s public hospitals to work with patients who suffer from end-stage illnesses. Additionally, SIF’s project partners YKI DKI and RH will draw on their community networks to co-organise annual Palliative Care Symposiums, to facilitate sharing of professional knowledge and experiences with the larger Indonesian healthcare communities for a better understanding of the principles and practices of palliative care.

In a first for SIF’s healthcare programmes in Indonesia, an inaugural Palliative Care Leadership Roundtable jointly organised by the project partners took place at Balai Kota today. The session was moderated by Dr Ramaswamy Akhileswaran, Volunteer Team Leader and CEO of HCA Hospice Care in Singapore. The Roundtable saw active discussions from policy makers and healthcare leaders from both countries on policy and management issues affecting the palliative care practice in Indonesia (see attached factsheet for a list of participants).

Beginning February 2015 and over a total of nine visits to Jakarta in the next three years, Dr Akhileswaran will lead a multidisciplinary team of Singapore International Volunteers (SIVs) comprising doctors, and palliative care nurses, to train a core group of Indonesian practitioners in the assessment, treatment and management of pain and symptoms experienced by patients with life-threatening illnesses. The Indonesian healthcare professionals will then be able to transfer these newly acquired skills to their colleagues in 10 national referral and district hospitals across Jakarta.

Dr Akhileswaran shares: “Many Palliative Care movements around the world began with the dedication of volunteers. I am humbled to be given this opportunity to make a contribution towards the development of Indonesia’s palliative care sector. I am looking forward to the mutual sharing of experiences with my Indonesian counterparts. Through our collective efforts, I hope to create greater awareness of growing palliative care needs and effect positive changes in the communities here.”

Ms Jean Tan, Executive Director of Singapore International Foundation, says “Over two decades, through participation in many SIF projects, Singaporeans and Indonesians have come together to share ideas, skills and resources to effect positive change. We had a very successful partnership with Rachel House from 2009 to 2012 that enhanced professional standards of Paediatric Palliative Care and saw its homecare model endorsed by the National Association of Nurses. We’re heartened today to start yet another meaningful palliative care programme with the Indonesia Cancer Foundation. 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 and what good we can do when we come together to solve common challenges.”

The SIF’s project partners shares their comments:

"This palliative care training programme is the main goal of our work plan," shares Ms Veronica Basuki, chairperson of YKI DKI. As YKI DKI and the Jakarta administration aim to establish a referral system that can effectively reduce pain and suffering as much as possible, and increase the patients' quality of live, thus "Governor Basuki fully supports this scheme," she added.

Ms Lynna Chandra, Founder of Rachel House: “We are grateful for the continued support from Singapore International Foundation and the committed volunteers assembled to help build the palliative care capacity amongst medical professionals in Jakarta. SIF’s support from the beginning in 2008 when palliative care was understood by few has been invaluable. Now, with the blessing of Ibu Veronica for this second phase of the project and the endorsement from the esteemed Yayasan Kanker Indonesia, we are hopeful that our vision that no child should ever have to die in pain is now within reach.”

The project launch today was witnessed by all partners, and also graced by the Singapore Ambassador to Indonesia H.E. Anil Nayar Kumar.



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