In July 2017, ACICIS welcomed 42 students from 13 Australian universities on the second iteration of the Public Health Study Tour (PHST). Of the 42 students on the program, 25 were supported by New Colombo Plan Mobility Grants. Accompanied by the PHST Tour Leader, Dr Luh Putu Lila Wulandari MPH, ACICIS Resident Director, Elena Williams, and other ACICIS support staff, the students spent two weeks in Indonesia learning about the rural and urban public health issues currently facing Australia’s near northern neighbour. ACICIS partnered with the Faculty of Public Health (FPH) of Universitas Indonesia (UI) as the host university for the 2017 PHST.

Unlike the pilot 2016 PHST program, this year the tour started in Yogyakarta. Students began their first week with orientation sessions and a one-day survival intensive class of Bahasa Indonesia at Universitas Sanata Dharma (USD) Language Institute to encourage students to communicate and immerse with local people during the tour.

Students attended a series of seminars from various speakers such as lecturers from ACICIS partner universities and local NGOs such as Samsara and Perkumpulan Keluarga Berencana Indonesia (PKBI) Yogyakarta, with topics covering an overview of the public health system in Indonesia, water and sanitation management, communicable diseases, and rural health facilities.

Students visited a Puskesmas and a Posyandu, or local community health centers, in a rural area, where they had the opportunity to see firsthand the challenges faced by local practitioners. These visits were arranged by Universitas Respati Yogyakarta (UNRIYO), a partner of FPH at Universitas Indonesia. Students also visited the Code Riverside Community to learn about water sanitation management and see the health system challenges residents in this area are facing. The group also visited the Eliminate Dengue Project (EDP) and gained insight into the work being done to minimalize the spread of dengue fever. The final field visit in Yogyakarta was to Rifka Annisa Woman Crisis Center, where students learnt about assistance available to women in need.

The final day in Yogyakarta saw the students give their presentations on the topics covered off during the first week of the tour.

During their time in Yogyakarta, students had the option to participate in a silver making workshop in Kota Gede. Students also had some spare time to explore the city, and surrounding areas, including Candi Borobudur, Ulen Sentalu Museum, and Mount Merapi.

The second week saw the group travel to Jakarta, to be welcomed by the Faculty of Public Health (FPH) of Universitas Indonesia (UI). The series of seminars included topics in food safety, environmental health, communicable and non -communicable diseases, and reproductive health.

Students visited a private hospital, Hermina Hospital, where they observed the programs and activities in treatment and prevention run at the hospital. Students also visited Puskesmas, a community health center in an urban area, and were encouraged to compare this center, with the one they visited in the rural setting in the previous week.

During the week at UI, students were assigned to groups with local students from FPH, and worked on preparing their final presentation. The presentations were delivered to FPH lecturers, other FPH students, and ACICIS staff. Universitas Indonesia officially closed the program, and the students attended a farewell dinner on the last day of the tour.

Congratulations to all PHST 2017 students for being such a great group throughout the tour! We hope you enjoyed your time in Indonesia.