Indonesia is a middle income South East Asian country that faces an alarming rise in the burden of chronic disease. Already, non-communicable disease is estimated to account for over 70% of total mortality in Indonesia, while it continues to bear the traditional burden of (tropical) infectious diseases. Addressing these challenges requires locally generated evidence and professional expertise through epidemiological and public health research. The most significant improvements in health and well-being will come through public policy. We believe that the most important investment to improve the future health and well-being of Indonesia is in the creation of a cohort of professionals who can lead the development of a stronger public health service based on relevant and locally generated health research and evidence.
Capacity building in Epidemiology
HEALTH-I will contribute one essential ingredient of that; investing in the development of clinical epidemiology and public health as disciplines that can inform Indonesian health policy and decision making. Between 2007 and 2010, the Julius Center led the EU AsiaLink consortium (UMCU, Oxford University, Universitas Indonesia) in a teaching project with 47 local courses to educate Malaysian and Indonesian physicians in clinical epidemiology and evidence based medicine. Asialink has resulted in a number of graduates at MSc and PhD level. In 2010, the Julius Center initiated a collaboration research program with Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital, Jakarta, Indonesia. This experience has clearly shown the potential of the Indonesian research community, but it is not yet managed to build-up and maintain a critical mass of research capacity in a way that is cost-effective and sustainable in the long run. Building a strong ‘home-grown’ research potential is pivotal and ultimately the only way to meet the health challenges in Indonesia and to secure progress. The Indonesian partners recognize this need and are in the process of building research training programmes for their students. As a consortium we believe that building sustainable research capacity requires a substantial investment over a long period of time to develop cohorts of young well-trained health professionals, who are perceived as potential future opinion leaders in the field of clinical epidemiology and public health. Not only should such generations reach the expertise levels to perform the research relevant to local needs, they should also be able to contribute to national level advisory boards in support of evidence based health policy making.
Use of E-learning in Indonesia
Indonesia has a population of 250 million, it is a very big country, and its many universities are distributed over the country. Access to education in research methods is, if available, mostly confined to local institutions. Indonesian authorities therefore recognise that online teaching will greatly improve access, improve flexibility of education for students who usually have other professional obligations, and improve harmonization of research methods education across institutions. Indonesian institutes have expressed an interest in getting their students engaged in online courses, in learning how to teach in online courses, how to construct online courses and in getting the means for online course production.
The HEALTH-I Program
HEALTH-I aims to help medical faculties in Indonesia introduce a blended learning program to help secure the continued education of young Indonesian researchers. The Julius Center features 90 ECTS credited MSc Epidemiology programmes, of which our project partner Elevate Health, provides a full online version. In HEALTH-I, this online version is used as a basis for a concise certification track program to train young Indonesian researchers through a set of 6 core distance learning courses that in combination cover the essential principles of study design, data analysis, and clinical epidemiology. Additionally, students follow online courses on Big Data (developed by UCL), Appropriateness of Health Care Utilization (developed by UAB), Epidemiology of Chronic Disease in South East Asia (developed by CEEBM), Meta-analysis of Prognostic Research (developed by Julius Center/Dutch Cochrane Center) each important new areas of health research particularly aimed at informing health policy. Elevate Health supports online course development facilities in all Indonesian partner institutes and create at CEEBM/Cipto Mangunkusumo General Hospital a modern video learning centre for continued local development of online education. Through a teach-the-teachers programme, selected lecturers from all Indonesian partners are trained on location in Indonesia by senior staff of the European partner institutes to provide theoretical feedback and research tutoring to the young trainees. Candidates are also offered an actual research phase under shared supervision of senior staff from European partners and lecturers from the Indonesian partners.