Capacity Building / Study Visit

Published: 28/06/2013

Activity Report Asia Pacific Academic Consortium for Public Health (APACPH)

Colombo, Sri Lanka 15-17 October 2012


Health is a must-have for every person to be able to live life well. By having a healthy people would be able to live productive and efficient. Conversely, without healthy people would not be able to live their lives properly let alone make ends meet him and his family. There is a consensus with countries in the world to measure the health of a nation by using the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as an indicator of well-being of a nation. There are many aspects of the MDGs target, ranging from education, health, equality, to the environment and cooperation among nations. The target is to accelerate the realization of a healthy and productive society to prosper well. Unfortunately, up to 10 years MDGs are used, there are still many countries that have not been able to reach its target, in particular the State Asia Pacific including Indonesia.

Based on that reasons, it was necessary for the nation to actively engage in discussions with other countries to share experiences and lessons learned to accelerate the achievement of MDGs in Indonesia. Armed with the above reasons, the Women Research Institute (WRI) sends two researchers was, Rahayuningtyas and Ayu Anastasia, to engage in the Asia Pacific Academic Consortium for Public Health (APACPH) 2012 held in Colombo, Sri Lanka on 15-17 October 2012. APACPH theme this year is the Millennium Development Goals Beyond 2015: The Challenge for Public Health, with some sub-themes, which WRI choose a theme closely related to the studies conducted, Gender Inequality and Health.

Conferences conducted over the 3 days, invite some experts in terms of public health to deliver research results. Besides representatives of several universities and community social agencies are also involved to share experiences about the health condition of people of the country respectively. On the first day, the material provided themed Millennium Development Goals Beyond 2015: The Challenge for Public Health, presented by Ms Razina Bilgrami, Country Director, United Nations Development Program, Sri Lanka. Then the ceremony continued with a parallel symposium with the theme which is chosen Worker’s Health: Future Perspectives presented by Prof. Hemantha Wickarmatike from the University of Malaya. He said that there should be a global plan to ensure all aspects of worker’s health, both in the formal and informal sector (including migrant workers, small industry workers, child labor, farmers, etc.), put them all the way in the health insurance system. The presence of workers in the health education also needs to be done to make health promotion in the workplace in the form of posters, making the manual worker health guideline. The workers themselves must also have the awareness to take action to prevent active disease and treat if already sick to be productive and works by living well.

After that, the conference conducted a second plenary on the theme World Health Organization Representative in Sri Lanka presented by Dr. Rustom Mehta Firdosi. He explained that in 2020 population of 65 years and over will be more than the population under 20 years of age so that the Sri Lankan population pyramid shape will change. This demographic transition will result in an epidemiological transition where the number of cases of non-communicable diseases will increase, such as dysfunction of organs. Indonesia was also a country with a population 60 years and over is quite high and in a few moments the population aged 65 years and over will dominate Indonesia. To overcome these problems, as early as possible should be made a health system which is known as age friendly primary health care, where the health care provided the access and utilization for the elderly population. This system contains guidance on the management of health services and education and health care for the elderly. When the program is run, in the long run will establish age friendly city, and several countries had already have it, such as in Sri Lanka where there is one district that is categorized as elderly-friendly district, there is also in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Calcutta in India.

On the second day, first seminar opened with a plenary entitled Development of Policies and Strategies to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals Beyond 2015 which was delivered by Prof. Masamine Jimba from University of Tokyo, Japan. He explained how to establish appropriate policies and strategies to achieve MDGs in 2015. He said the value should be the basis for making appropriate policy and strategy is to look at freedom, equality, solidarity, tolerance, respect of nature, and to share responsibility. In terms of achieving the MDGs, particularly the fourth target is about child mortality, Indonesia experienced a reduction so that the condition is getting better. However, the eighth target is about HIV, Indonesia experienced a setback in which the number of patients increased from time to time. All the MDGs actually has a very close relationship with health, meaning that of nation building would work well if the target can be met with good health. Sri Lanka themselves spending a lot of money to improve the health of their communities, by providing free health care for all citizens.

The event continued with Parallel Symposia, where the chosen theme is Gender and Health, presented by Dr. Candani Galwaduge and Dr. Laksham Senayake. It was explained that the difference in treatment based on gender Issues in the Asia Pacific region is still quite a lot going on. Many of the differences are given since childhood such as providing nutrition for boys is always better than girls, as well as in education. This leads to the experience and knowledge of women always lags behind men. This condition will continue to carry until they are married, where men become key decision-makers in the family, including his wife’s social activities, number of pregnancies and births, and the use of contraceptives by the wife. DAPT no doubt that the condition is in some cases lead to violence against women that is commonly arise from the closest people. For reducing the above problem, the Sri Lankan government attempted to create a program with the slogan “reduce violence against women will reduce social violence”. This activity is manifested in several ways such as by forming poly for women in the hospital so that when women are victims of violence at the hospital to check their health, they can also consult with the hospital even to find the best solution. This strategy was chosen because many things are not revealed when abused women went to the hospital, he was afraid and ashamed to tell the real cause of bruises or wounds on the body, so that they lied when asked why. The doctors were afraid to ask in detail the events that led to the injury of fear is considered a private matter, even if the doctor knew the injury because violence committed husbands or significant others, physicians also confused provide the best solution for the victim. In addition, the government of Sri Lanka program is also done by creating capacity building, gender equal policy making and network with Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), hospitals, communities, police, education sector and other health sector.

On the third day carried the theme last Plenary Multi Stakeholder Approach in Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) Prevention presented by Professor of Diabetes Medicine, University of Oxford. He explained that the current NCD is rapidly evolving, he took a sample of research in China, India, and Mexico. Disease that develops mostly because of the pattern and the wrong lifestyle, such as eating habits and smoking, increasing cases of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes mellitus. The difference in life expectancy between smokers and nonsmokers is 10 years of age. Cooperation among stakeholders will facilitate the prevention of infectious defect caused by smoking, including the community. In China there are police in charge of overseeing that no people who smoke in public places. Besides China also made many signs posters banned smoking in public places, with the aim to reduce smoking community. In addition to encouraging people to live healthier, the Chinese government also provides free bicycle rental for the use of all residents. In addition to making healthy lifestyle, this activity can also reduce air pollution.

In India, as made NCDs prevention of water in the gym is the gym open space that can be used by all residents, usually water gym located in the city park and other locations that many pedestrians pass. Specific issues cigarettes, the Indian government also made a lot of posters / billboards that communicate the dangers of smoking for heart and health. Government policy also makes the sport activities together such as in schools, offices, and government agencies. In particular, for children of school age government also recommends cycling to school even incorporated into the physical education curriculum to ensure all students can ride their own bikes. From eating culture also began to emerge culture of eating healthy fruits and vegetables to children in schools.

Similar to the two previous state, in Mexico is also a lot to do gymnastics together in public places, such as schools, malls, and even in the street. This is done so that all the people who are doing the activity can take this joint exercise. To prevent an increase in NCD, the government also conducted a special meeting regularly with the Ministry of Health Mexico that used the issue as a health problem in all sectors. Eating habits, the government also made a policy that all schools provide healthy food in the cafeteria.

Of the conference APACPH conducted over 3 days, the known range of issues related to global health. Many materials that discuss the solutions offered to change conditions for the better health of Indonesia. Some research also shows that some countries are already using some of the ways and managed to improve the health conditions of the country. Indonesia as one of the countries in the Asia Pacific region also has some issues similar to those presented presenters. Some suggestions or feedback can be applied to change the state of health of the nation for the better. Programs are successfully implemented in other countries can be used as a reference because it has been proven to improve the country’s health conditions. Health improvement strategy is not the responsibility of many sectors. Cooperation between the government and all elements of civil society institutions and must be involved together to realize Indonesia’s health condition better.

WRI’s Study Visit to Sri Lanka, October 16th – 17th 2012

Indonesia and Sri Lanka is a country that is equally developed, have conflicts, both experiencing the tsunami disaster in 2004. From the similarities are certainly many things that can be learned and exchanged, especially in women’s issues and the women’s movement. In Sri Lanka, women’s had long struggle movement for justice and equality. Therefore, represented by two researchers, WRI deems it necessary to conduct a study visit to the two women’s organizations that had long been the establishment of the Women’s Education and Research Centre (WERC) and the Center for Women’s Research (CENWOR).

1982 saw the inauguration of this organization as the Women’s Education Centre (WEC). It was founded by a small group of feminist researchers and activists to highlight the status of women in the country and to publish material, which could be used by women in their struggle for liberation. The broad objectives of WEC were to increase women’s awareness, their resources and opportunities for effective participation in the economic, political and social life of the country. WERC’ aim to raise the consciousness of women and men at society level, including civil society and work as an instrument for policy change at state level. Close scrutiny in socio-political and socio-cultural institutions and structure aid us to determine incidences of the subordination of women. It is our belief that research and education carried out in these areas will pave the way to achieve gender equality.

Concerned by the paucity of data to address the disadvantaged position of women, a group of academics, researchers and activists who were involved for several years in research and action-oriented programs relating to women joined together in 1984 to form the Centre for Women’s Research (CENWOR). Commencing with policy and action oriented research, CENWOR, over the years has expanded its work to include action programs, gender sensitization and training, information dissemination and communication. It joined with other women’s groups to lobby and advocate for policy changes to secure women’s rights. Its research studies encompassed almost all facets of gender issues and these findings were disseminated and shared widely through print and electronic media to enable likeminded organizations and individuals involved in gender issues to intervene as appropriate.

Event study visit is generally a discussion, exploring information and know each other and exchange views and knowledge about:

  1. Actual issues of gender Indonesia and Sri Lanka
  2. Gender studies and training
  3. Gender policies and strategies of implementation
  4. International / regional networks and collaboration
  5. Knowledge management


Based on discussions with two organizations, it can be arrested that they succeeded in advocating birth of the law on rape in Sri Lanka. In addition they also succeeded in elevating the welfare and the degree live of women widows after conflict. Like WERC which provides training to tuk-tuk driver (public transportation) or CENWOR providing reading course for the high female illiteracy in several provinces in Sri Lanka. To achieve success, both WERC and CENWOR, they have and maintain a good relationship with the government and the media in Sri Lanka.

One thing in particular two organizations that they not yet achieved by them is the representation of women in the political sphere, where the representation of women in Sri Lanka is currently only about 5%. Therefore they are very interested in how the Indonesian women’s movement could push the number of women’s representation in politics in Indonesia.
At the end of the visit WRI exchanged some books and publications required by both organizations visited. ***