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Nursing continues international partnerships

Outreach to Indonesia

(June 22, 2000, Gazette)

Indonesian nurses and Memorial faculty are working together to improve the health of Indonesian women and children. Sitting (L-R): Supriatini, project leader at the University of Indonesia, and master's students Nani Nurhaeni, Wiwin Wiarsih, Sigit Mulyono and Yati Afiyanti. Standing (L-R): Dr. Sandra LeFort, Nursing, Dewi Irawaty, University of Indonesia, Karen Webber, Nursing, Dr. Shirley Solberg, Nursing, Kay Matthews, Nursing, Dr. Yani Hamid, team leader at the University of Indonesia, and Dr. Marilyn Porter, Sociology.

HSIMS photo

By Sharon Gray

Memorial's School of Nursing and the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Indonesia in Jakarta have teamed up to improve the health of mothers and children in rural Indonesia.

Part of the project involves training nursing faculty for the University of Indonesia. Four junior faculty members from Indonesia are now at Memorial doing their master's in nursing. Nani Nurhaeni and Wiwin Wiarsih will complete their degrees in September, and Sigit Mulyono and Yati Afiyanti are now on campus starting their course of study.

Dr. Yani Hamid said it will be good for the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Indonesia to have a critical mass of faculty members who have studied at the same place. It was only in 1999 that the University of Indonesia brought in its own master's of nursing program, established with the help of Memorial faculty members.

Although Indonesia has a population of 200 million, there is only one Faculty of Nursing for the whole country and nursing is viewed as a low-status profession with low educational requirements for graduation. And because of inadequate health care, the levels of maternal mortality and morbidity are dramatically higher than in Canada.

A major goal of the Nursing, Women's Health and Community Outreach in Indonesia project is to improve the health of mothers and children in rural Indonesia by providing training to upgrade the skills of district and village level nurses, village midwives and traditional care workers.

"We're currently analyzing the large set of community health needs assessment data which has been collected in selected sites in Indonesia," said Kay Matthews, Memorial's team leader on the project. "Based on that data we'll plan projects to improve general family health."

Ms. Matthews, who has made three visits to Indonesia already during the course of this five-year project which began in 1998, said the idea is to create a model which can be used in any part of Indonesia to improve the health of women and children.

From the point of view of Memorial, Ms. Matthews said the Indonesian project is enriching the faculty by being involved in international health and collaborating with a nursing school in a country like Indonesia with its complex social and health problems and its large population.

The $1.1 million Indonesian outreach project is largely funded through the University Partnerships in Cooperation and the Development of the Canadian International Development Agency program, administered by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada.