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Jakarta Post

Mangku Sitepoe’s devotion to public health in spotlight

Thu, April 19, 2018   /   05:54 pm
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    Portrait of Mangku Sitepoe. JP/Jerry Adiguna

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    Humble ride: Mangku sits inside a public minivan on his way home after meeting his book publisher. JP/Jerry Adiguna

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    Digital savvy:Mangku uses his laptop to work from home in Kebayoran Lama. JP/Jerry Adiguna

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    When we were young: Mangku shows his old photos. JP/Jerry Adiguna

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    Taking turns: A patient waits for his turn to receive low-cost medication at Bhakti Sosial Kesehatan health clinic. which was founded by Mangku and Yohanne Penginjil church. JP/Jerry Adiguna

Jerry Adiguna

Mangku Sitepoe is a veterinarian and general practitioner born in November 1935 in Lau Tepoe village, Salapian district, Langkat, North Sumatra. Raised in a traditional family, he grew up to become a medical professional due to a fervent desire to make a contribution to the nation.

At the age of 83, when most people enjoy their retirement, Mangku remains active by sharing his expertise and serving the public at his medical practice at the Bhakti Sosial Kesehatan clinic in Kebayoran Lama, South Jakarta. In his spare time, he writes medical books and working papers.

He is involved in various public health issues, ranging from research on the Zika virus and malnutrition in Papua to keeping low-income families healthy. Mangku’s active life keeps him in high spirits.

A visual documentary of his daily activities was shot by professional photographers in collaboration with Singapore-based TV station Channel NewsAsia to put super octogenarians in the spotlight. Under the theme “Never Too Old”, this project is aimed at spreading the message that advanced age poses no barrier to individuals who want to keep working.

The second child of Jombot Sitepoe and Benamalem Ginting, Mangku was brought up in a small village between the Wampu and Ular rivers before Indonesia’s independence, where he had to face various diseases that could only be treated by traditional means. His childhood experiences later nurtured his interest in medicine. Now in the autumn of his life, he is longing to return to his village to help the local community.

His career as a veterinarian started as soon as he graduated from Gajah Mada University in Yogyakarta in 1963. After 15 years, the father of two became a general practitioner after graduating from the University of North Sumatra in 1978. His deep admiration for life and living beings has also motivated the further development of his medical capacity.

Mangku’s story as a child who had to conduct self-circumcision, an adult who became a veterinarian and physician and a senior citizen whose passion for furthering his profession has motivated everyone.

His continuous contribution to his fellow human beings serves as an inspiration on how to live a good life.