The newly-launched Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER)-Health Indonesia program worth $1.9 million will enhance partnerships between the US and Indonesian researchers in conducting research in the field of health in Indonesia.
USAID Indonesia Deputy Mission Director, Derrick Brown, said Monday that the PEER-Health program was one of the examples of the implementation of US-Indonesia Comprehensive, a long-term commitment to broaden, deepen and elevate bilateral partnerships between the two countries formally launched by President Barack Obama and his Indonesian counterpart, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, in November 2010.
“The PEER-Health program will provide Indonesian scientists wider opportunities to conduct research in the field of health aiming to create a vast understanding of and to develop better ways to address health problems in the country,” he told a press conference after a lecture titled “The Genetic Basis of Cancer” presented by Dr. Harold Varmus, an American Nobel Prize-winning scientist and current Director of the US National Cancer Institute (NCI).
The PEER-Health program developed by the USAID and the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) will work on two focus areas, namely, newborn survival and Tuberculosis.
Brown said the PEER-Health program, however, would open for health research on a broad range of issues. “We do not want to just be limited to one specific area. Yet as the number of TB incidences in the country is quite large, we will give special attention to research aiming to develop new methods and tools for TB control,” he said, adding that through its PEER-Health program, the USAID Indonesia was providing $50 million for research on maternal child health,TB control and other infectious diseases.
Overall, the US is committed to delivering more than $1.9 million for over three years to enhance greater research collaboration between US-Indonesia scientists.
Other areas of interest possibly funded by the PEER-Health program include maternal and child health; HIV/AIDS; neglected tropical diseases; emerging pandemic threats; pandemic influenza and zoonotic diseases; epidemiology; drug management and logistics; pharmacist training and management; monitoring, evaluation and survey methodologies, and environmental health.
The USAID Indonesia’s health specialist, Kendra Chittenden, said that under the program, the Indonesian scientists could also participate or collaborate in research conducted by the NIH scientists.
“In this program, Indonesian researchers will be enabled to co-partner in research projects conducted by the NIH scientists in specific areas, including infectious diseases,” she said.