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Jakarta Post

Indonesia's BPOM assists Palestine to establish independent food and drug agency

  • Rizki Fachriansyah
    Rizki Fachriansyah

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, November 24, 2020   /   01:26 pm
Indonesia's BPOM assists Palestine to establish independent food and drug agency Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM) head Penny Kusumastuti Lukito leads a raid on herbal drinks and illegal medicine in Cilincing, North Jakarta, on Sept. 21, 2018. (Tempo/ M Julnis Firmansyah)

Indonesia, through the Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM), has kicked off a three-day virtual forum on the establishment of an independent regulatory body for food and drugs in Palestine in an effort to bolster the Middle Eastern nation’s resilience in weathering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A part of the South-South Cooperation (SSC) program, the forum runs from Monday to Wednesday and comprises comprehensive online training sessions in which relevant stakeholders from Indonesia and Palestine are expected to exchange knowledge about the various prerequisites and challenges of forming the regulatory body.

The training covers wide-ranging topics of interest, including traditional medicine, health supplements, cosmetics, food and laboratory testing.

Among those attending the online event are BPOM head Penny Kusumastuti Lukito, Palestinian Health Minister Mai al-Kaila, as well as representatives from several state departments.

“This COVID-19 situation is what motivated our commitment to providing technical support for Palestinian regulatory authorities so as to improve the monitoring of food and drugs in Palestine,” Penny said in a statement issued by the BPOM on Monday.

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She went on to say that the virtual training was meant as a follow-up to the road map established during a 2018 meeting in Jakarta with several other food and drug regulatory agencies affiliated with the Islamic Cooperation Organization (OKI), of which Indonesia is also a member.

Al-Kaila conveyed her appreciation for the support provided by the BPOM, particularly with regard to the virtual forum.

“This event represents one approach to […] improving access to food and medicines in Palestine amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said as quoted in the statement.

She went on to say that the forum was in line with Palestine’s priority health programs, such as Quality Health Care for All, as stipulated in the National Policy Agenda of the State of Palestine Year 2017-2022.

Penny said she hoped the forum would prove beneficial to Palestine and that Indonesia would remain committed to supporting the Middle Eastern country.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Palestine has recorded a total of 73,196 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 645 deaths linked to the disease, according to worldometers.info.