-  Sharing with Indonesia: Trauma and Home Care Expertise  -

November 21, 2011

The Indonesian medical professionals sponsored by Tag, who visited Israel’s Rambam Medical Center this month to learn about coping with man-made and natural disasters, were deeply grateful for the medical knowledge they gained and deeply impressed by the Israeli weathermen.

“Your meteorological service is amazingly accurate,” they chorused, walking through the glistening Haifa streets on the last night of their international course. “When they say it will rain, it rains, when they say the sun will come out, it shines!” In Indonesia, they explained, people with paranormal powers manipulate the weather in response to requests from families who may be planning outdoor events or festivities. This is why, they elaborated for an uncomprehending Israeli, they can never trust their weather reports. In addition to Israeli meteorologists, they felt they could trust the professionals at Rambam Medical Center, as well as those at MATAV, Israel’s largest homecare for the elderly NGO, all of whom they were able to meet and share knowledge with, courtesy of Tag.

The General Practitioners, neurologist and senior paramedic from Indonesia’s 118 Emergency Ambulance Services (EAS) and Palang Merah Indonesia (PMI), the Indonesian Red Cross, were at the Rambam Medical Center to attend a seminar entitled “8th Seminar on Developing and Organizing a Trauma System and Mass Casualty Event Organization” jointly sponsored by Rambam, the Foreign Ministry and the Health Ministry. Their attendance was not to be taken for granted, as they hail from the world’s most populous Muslim country, that does not have diplomatic relations with Israel.

Asti, Edi, Muhammad and Lilis all said the course has provided them with a more efficient system for organizing their Emergency Rooms and their ambulance services, and that they will bring these systems back to Indonesia where they hope to adapt them to local conditions. They are also in need of additional training for paramedics, which Tag has pledged to provide upon their request. They recounted happily that the seminar had included tours around Israel and that they had been pleasantly surprised to learn that the country is full of warm, welcoming people and not a “war zone” as media reports often lead them to believe.

Dr. Muhammad Arfan of PMI said he has set up a trauma system in a PMI Emergency Room in Bogor Hospital in west Java that he will be able to greatly improve, following the two-week Rambam seminar for 27 physicians and nurses from 17 countries.

The participants shared their experiences and coping strategies during the workshop. Lili Widgaga, Head of the Health Division at PMI, described a community-based Emergency Medicine project and a project in Central Java that teaches community response to outbreaks of disease, such as malaria. She also mentioned that while PMI hospitals are fully-equipped, they could benefit from an improved management system, like the one they were exposed to at Rambam.

Asti Puspita Rini, Deputy Director of 118 EAS and Dr. Edi Prasetyo, a neurologist, along with their colleague and senior paramedic, Muhammad Syukri, arrived in Israel a week before the others and also participated in a joint Tag-MATAV Home Care Seminar, to learn about Israel’s highly-successful MATAV homecare-for-the-elderly model, which they hope to adapt to serve the needs of the population of 10 million in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia.

At the conclusion of her stay in Israel Asti said, “It is my honor to be a little part of Tag. The trauma course at Rambam was fantastic. And so was the seminar with Matav. We learned a lot from Matav. We have many new ideas about what we will do in Jakarta.” And Edi added, “I feel sad I shall leave Israel because of the many sweet memories and all the new experiences and knowledge I have gained. I feel I have a new family now.”

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