Enhancing Palliative Care in Indonesia

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

From L to R, Mrs Veronica Basuki Chairperson of the Indonesian Cancer Foundation (Jakarta), Ms Jean Tan, Executive Director of SIF and Ms Lynna Chandra, Founder of Rachel House at the LOA signing ceremony held in Jakarta’s City Hall.

“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… 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,” said Jean Tan, Executive Director of SIF, at the letter of agreement (LOA) signing ceremony of the “Enhancing Palliative Care Practice Jakarta” project.

The event marks the start of another meaningful programme with our Indonesian project partners – the Indonesian Cancer Foundation (Jakarta) and Rachel House. SIF’s three-year training programme aims to enhance the practice of palliative care in Indonesia’s largest city consisting 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 beginning with an inaugural Palliative Care Leadership Roundtable where Singapore International Volunteers Team Leader and CEO of HCA Hospice Care Dr Ramaswamy Akhileswaran shared Singapore’s palliative care experiences with his Indonesian counterparts.

Over the next three years, a multidisciplinary team of Singapore International Volunteers (SIVs) comprising doctors and palliative care nurses will train a core group of 50 Indonesian practitioners/master trainers in the assessment, treatment and management of pain and symptoms experienced by patients with life-threatening illnesses. These ‘master trainers’ will then transfer their newly acquired skills to colleagues in 10 national referral and district hospitals across Jakarta.

The project also aims to help improve care for the terminally ill in Jakarta by bringing together volunteer palliative care specialists from Singapore to share knowledge and experiences with the larger Indonesian healthcare communities. An inaugura Palliative Care Leadership Roundtable took place shortly after the signing ceremony. Moderated by Dr Ramaswamy Akhileswaran, Volunteer Team Leader and CEO of HCA Hospice Care in Singapore, the Roundtable saw active discussions among healthcare leaders from both countries on policy and management issues affecting the palliative care practice in Indonesia.

This 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 underscores the voluntary spirit that’s very much at the heart of this medical speciality. As Dr Akhileswaran observes, “Many Palliative Care movements around the world began with the dedication of volunteers”.

“Through our collective efforts, I hope we can create greater awareness of growing palliative care needs and effect positive changes in the communities here. I am humbled to be given this opportunity to make a contribution towards the development of Indonesia’s palliative care sector,” he added.

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