The US and Indonesian will continue to strengthen their partnership in combating tuberculosis (TB), especially multidrug-resistant TB, a visiting senior US official says.
Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, Kerri-Ann Jones, said Monday that both the US and Indonesia had recognized the importance of combating TB, particularly multidrug-resistant TB bacteria.
“I think you know that the whole world is worried about multidrug-resistant TB. It’s important to the citizens of our countries to understand the infection. And I think it’s important that in Indonesia, we can have a partnership and share health information to try to make some progress in dealing with the disease,” Jones told journalists on the sidelines of her visit to the microbiology laboratory at the University of Indonesia’s School of Medicine today.
As part of the partnership, the US has committed to deliver 17 GeneXpert advanced diagnostic machines.
Jones said having a diagnosis that was fast and accurate could make a big difference in efforts to combat TB, especially multidrug-resistant forms of the bacteria.
“[The GeneXpert] offers a key advantage as it is really fast. You can have a diagnosis in only a couple of hours. Usually, it takes a couple of days or even longer,” Jones said.
“That is important because we don’t want patients to leave only to find out that they’re infected, infecting other people in the meantime because they didn’t get immediate treatment,” she said.
Five GeneXpert machines have been installed in five hospitals and laboratories, namely: Dr. Muwardi Hospital in Surakarta; Dr. Soetomo Hospital in Surabaya, East Java; Microbiology Laboratory at University of Indonesia’s School of Medicine in Jakarta; Persahabatan Hospital in Jakarta; and University of Padjadjaran’s School of Medicine in Bandung, West Java.
“We will install the reminder in several other hospitals and laboratories after we complete studies on how the equipments work in a more effective and efficient way both in diagnosing TB and detecting multidrug-resistant bacteria,” said Dyah Erti Mustikawati, director of TB control at the Health Ministry’s Disease Control and Environmental Health Directorate (P2PL).
On Tuesday, the Assistant Secretary of State will sign an agreement between the US and Indonesia on science and technology cooperation at the Research and Technology Ministry.
“We will talk more about how we can collaborate and look at more research not only in the field of health, but also marine, biodiversity and climate research, as well as agriculture research,” said Jones. ***