"There are eight bilateral agreements reached with other G20 countries, which will soon be followed up on their implementation," Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin informed in a written statement received here on Tuesday.
Indonesia reached the first agreement with South Korea at the second G20 Health Ministerial Meeting in Bali on October 27–28, 2022.
According to Sadikin, the area of cooperation with South Korea is in line with the six pillars of health transformation currently being pursued in Indonesia, starting from the expansion of medical services at hospitals to accelerating collaboration with the Korean pharmaceutical industry and hospitals.
Second, the minister informed, Indonesia has agreed to exchange information with South Africa on how to improve genomic and mRNA (messenger ribonucleic acid) sequencing.
Meanwhile, a bilateral meeting with Saudi Arabia has resulted in the third agreement in the form of a Saudi Arabian grant of US$5 million for meningitis medicines and vaccines for Hajj and Umrah travelers. In addition, the United Arab Emirates will provide US$10 million for TB control in Indonesia.
Indonesia has continued to make diplomatic efforts so that Saudi Arabia contributes to the prevention of the pandemic through the Financial Intermediary Fund (FIF). It has also sought Saudi support for strengthening the research and manufacture of VTDs (vaccine, therapy and diagnostics tools) in low-middle-income countries.
In addition, the Health Ministry, together with the Indonesian Migrant Workers Protection Agency (BP2MI) and the Ministry of Manpower, has held discussions regarding memorandums of understanding (MoU) inked with Saudi Arabia, especially an agreement on the placement of nurses.
Meanwhile, the fourth agreement pertains to exploring the potential for collaboration between Spain and Indonesia. Spain will be the president of the European Union in the second half of 2023, and Indonesia will be the ASEAN chair the same year.
The fifth agreement has been reached between Indonesia and the Netherlands. Indonesia has been invited to be the co-chair of the World Local Production Forum in 2023 by the Netherlands.
Minister Sadikin said he is hoping for Dutch support in capacity building related to VTDs and knowledge-transfer programs on drug regulation and supervision considering that the Netherlands is the host of the European Medicine Agency (EMA).
The sixth agreement has been reached in a bilateral meeting with Germany on a pre-departure training program. The move is expected to increase the number of nurses working in Germany.
The seventh agreement pertains to cooperation with the United States through the exploration of the ARPA-H project, which is a research center under the coordination of the US National Institute of Health (NIH).
"We will ask the NIH Institutes to establish a clinical research unit at the best Indonesian hospital for research and development," said the minister.
He also asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to support the construction of the Indonesian National Public Health Laboratory (Labkesmas) by forming partnerships and providing experts.
In addition, he asked the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to sponsor cooperation between US hospitals (Boston Children, MD Anderson, Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic, Joslin Diabetes, UCLA) and hospitals in Indonesia.
The eighth agreement has been reached between Indonesia and Brazil. The two countries have agreed to collaborate on vaccines, surveillance of infectious diseases, and the handling of arboviruses, as well as efforts to reduce malaria.
"Of course, we will not stop here. We will continue to explore other efforts," said Minister Sadikin.
Related news: 2nd HMM to finalize global health architecture agreement: ministry
Related news: Fair health service access mechanism agreement expected at 2nd HMM
Related news: Endemic status requires state leaders' joint agreement: Minister