Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesia's Health Ministry is aiming to boost the availability of oncology specialist nurses in Indonesia to support the provision of optimal oncology services.

"We do not want more people going abroad seeking oncology treatment if actually they can be treated here," Director General of Health Workers at the ministry Arianti Anaya said in Jakarta on Friday.

She noted that the availability of specialist oncology nurses needs to be increased considering the high number of cancer cases in Indonesia.

She pegged the number of new cancer cases in the country at about 340 thousand. Therefore, efforts to increase the number of oncology health workers are important to support the government's cancer prevention and treatment program.

"Our program for treating cancer is not only curative, but also promotive through vaccination. With the increase in oncology doctors that we are currently promoting, it must be accompanied by an increase in health workers' number as well," Anaya said.

She then lauded the multi-stakeholder public and private partnership between the National Cancer Center of Dharmais Cancer Hospital (RSKD), Faculty of Nursing of the University of Indonesia (FIK-UI), Indonesian Oncology Nurses Association (HIMPONI), and Roche Indonesia, which has been seeking to strengthen the competence of oncology nurses since 2021.

The partnership has produced 125 nurses holding basic oncology nursing certificates and 25 ToT Basic Oncology Nursing Training certified trainers, as well as 56 nurses who received specialist oncology nursing scholarships. Four of them completed specialist education in oncology nursing at the FIK-UI at the end of July 2023.

The same partnership will be expanded to involve the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health (FKKMK) of Gadjah Mada University (UGM) in opening an oncology nursing specialist study program at UGM.

"This partnership is very good because we also collaborate with the private sector. Compared to other countries, the role of their private sector is much bigger than the government," she said.

Concurring with Anaya, the dean of FIK-UI, Agus Setiawan, also said he believes that accelerating the provision of oncology specialist nurses as strategic partners for doctors is important.

He informed that the oncology specialist nurse study program at UI will be the first and only one in Indonesia. The program is expected to help produce more quality specialist oncology nurses.

Meanwhile, Deputy Dean for Academic and Student Affairs at FKKMK UGM Ahmad Hamim Sadewa said the opening of the oncology nursing specialist study program is an important step, both for science and in responding to the actual need for health workers in Indonesia.

The establishment of the oncology nursing specialist study program at FKKMK UGM is part of a long-term capacity-building push for oncology nurses, which aims to boost the production of specialist nurses in cancer services in Central Java, East Java, and Eastern Indonesia. The program is expected to officially start accepting students from 2025.

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Translator: Lia Wanadriani S, Resinta S
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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