MDG office to send young doctors to remote areas
To help people in remote areas gain access to medical treatment and health information, a government-sponsored program will send newly graduated doctors to isolated places across the country.
The program called Pencerah Nusantara (the nation’s enlightener) is aimed at helping the country meet its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), especially in the health sector.
Pencerah Nusantara, initiated by the President’s special envoy for MDGs, Nila Moeloek, will be similar to Indonesia Mengajar, a program which sends young intellectuals to teach at elementary schools in far-flung areas throughout Indonesia.
A memorandum of understanding was signed on Friday by Nila, Indonesia Mengajar Movement founder Anies Baswedan and Daya Dimensi Indonesia director Vina Pendit, who is responsible for the Indonesia Mengajar recruitment process.
Indonesia’s MDGs, due for completion in 2015, include reducing malnutrition and maternal and infant mortality rates, as well as tackling malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.
Health Ministry senior official Slamet Riyadi Yuwono has previously said Indonesia could fail to meet its goal of reducing maternal and infant mortality rates by 2015, given poor health facilities and the lack of skilled midwives and obstetricians.
The US$55 million program aims to reduce Indonesia’s maternal and neonatal deaths to a rate of 102 per 100,000 live births by 2015, from the current 228 per 100,000 live births.
Despite abundant medical funds from NGOs, Nila said, the infant mortality rate is still high in East Nusa Tenggara, particularly because of the lack of health awareness there.
In East Nusa Tenggara, according to a Kupang local government health survey in 2010, there were 80 infant deaths for every 1000 births.
“We want these young doctors to raise health awareness in Indonesia,” Nila said.
Nila said that the program is not part of Indonesia Mengajar. “However it [Indonesia Mengajar] will be our prototype for Pencerah Nusantara recruitment as it has successfully enticed devoted young enthusiasts to teach in remote areas.”
Nila said Pencerah Nusantara was initiated after seeing the high level of enthusiasm of young people in Indonesia to join the teaching program. Indonesia Mengajar was founded in 2009 and has since sent 170 selected people from over 19,000 registrants to 134 villages across the nation.
Nila also said that the program aimed to encourage the young doctors to not only work under instructions but to take initiatives.
Pencerah Nusantara targets medical and dentistry graduates who are no older than 30 years of age with a minimum cumulative score index of not less than 3.00. The young doctors and dentists will be deployed to community health centers thorough the country.
Nila said that the partnership would soon conduct a survey to see what was needed by each region in order to decide where to send the participants. (aml)