In July 2019, ACICIS welcomed 54 students from eleven Australian universities to attend the two-week Public Health Study Tour (PHST). ACICIS was pleased to be hosted again by the Faculty of Public Health (FPH) at Universitas Indonesia (UI) for the PHST. Of the 54 students that undertook the tour, 52 were assisted by the Australian Government’s New Colombo Plan Mobility Program. Accompanied by the PHST Tour Leader, Dr Ade Prastyani, ACICIS Resident Director, Dr Adrian Budiman, ACICIS Deputy Resident Director, Ms Janelle May, and other ACICIS support staff, the students spent two weeks learning about the rural and urban public health issues currently facing Indonesia.

Students started their first week in Yogyakarta with an orientation session and a welcome dinner, where they were entertained by traditional Indonesian dancing. The students also attended a one-day Bahasa Indonesia survival class at the Universitas Sanata Dharma (USD) Language Center to encourage and help students to communicate with locals and immerse in the local culture during the two-week tour.

Students attended a series of seminars presented by various speakers, such as lecturers from ACICIS’ partner universities and local NGOs, SamsaraRifka Annisa and Perkumpulan Keluarga Berencana Indonesia (PKBI) Yogyakarta. The seminars covered a variety of topics, including an overview of the public health system in Indonesia, dengue haemorrhagic fever and malaria, disaster-risk management, abortion, gender-based violence and LGBTQI issues.

During their time in Yogyakarta, students also had the opportunity to see firsthand the current issues and challenges in Indonesia and to meet locals from the rural areas by visiting Puskesmas and Posyandu – local community health centres. These visits were arranged by Universitas Respati Yogyakarta (UNRIYO), a partner of FPH at UI. Students also got to visit the Code Riverside Community to learn about water sanitation management. At the Eliminate Dengue Project, students gained insight into how the project aims to minimise the spread of dengue fever. The final field visit in Yogyakarta was to Yakkum Rehabilitation Centre, where the students learned about the services available to assist people with disabilities or mental health issues.

On their final day in Yogyakarta, the students gave presentations on the topics covered during the first week of the tour.

The group then travelled to Jakarta for the second week of the tour. The students were welcomed by staff at the FPH of UI. In Jakarta, the students attended a series of seminars which included topics in food safety, nutrition, communicable and non-communicable diseases, and reproductive health. The group also had the opportunity to learn from an Australian Embassy representative about the role of non-state actors in a decentralised environment.

Throughout the second week, the students visited public hospitals in Cibubur and Bogor, where they observed treatment and prevention programs run at the hospitals. Students also visited the waste management communities around Bogor, West Java to learn about the waste management system and issues in rural community.

During the tour, students had the opportunity to participate in cultural field trips to Ratu Boko temple, and Bogor Botanical Garden. Students also had some spare time during the tour to explore Candi Borobudur, Taman Sari water castle and Malioboro Street.

The tour was wrapped up with academic presentations. Students were assigned to groups with Indonesian students from FPH, and they delivered presentations to FPH lecturers, other FPH students, and ACICIS staff. UI officially closed the program, and the students attended a farewell dinner on the last day of the tour. During the farewell dinner, the students also had the opportunity to showcase their talents in dancing by doing the Nutbush line dance and the Macarena.

Congratulations to all PHST July 2019 students for being such a great group throughout the tour!