President Tony Tan commends S’pore volunteers’ efforts in Jakarta

Better home care for terminally ill children in the Indonesian capital — that is what a team of volunteers from Singapore has helped to put in place.

And with its success, the project is poised to spark a pediatric palliative care movement in other parts of the country.

Singapore President Tony Tan Keng Yam, who is on a state visit to Indonesia, commended the team.

He hailed their spirit of volunteerism harnessed through the Singapore International Foundation (SIF), which has arranged for a multi-disciplinary team of doctors, nurses, psychologists and social workers to visit Jakarta in the past three years.

The President even made a visit to the Darmais Cancer Hospital in Jakarta where he visited terminally ill children benefitting from a palliative care programme introduced by the volunteers from the island republic.

The SIF partnered Indonesia’s Rachel House Foundation, the first pediatric palliative care provider in the country, to train a core team of 16 medical professionals.

And these in turn have imparted their new skills to more than 1000 people in the medical industry.

Susi Susilawati, a nurse at Rachel House Foundation, said: “We have spread the knowledge to other medical workers in several hospitals district clinics, volunteers and even parents of patients.

Dr Edi Setiawan Tehuteru, pediatric oncologist at Darmais Cancer Hospital, said: “This is how we should be treating children with cancer.

“Before that we just do our best but actually we’ve not done our best yet.

“But now we know about palliative care and this is the best care that we can give for them.”

Praising the efforts, President Tony Tan said these achievements were possible because of the Singaporeans who volunteered their time, energy and expertise.

Separately, President Tan said Singapore’s excellent relationship with Indonesia is anchored by strong people-to-people ties, such as those forged between Singaporeans and Indonesians who had studied in the city state.

He was speaking in Jakarta at a reception for Indonesians who are the alumni of Singapore institutes of higher learning and training programmes.

President Tan expressed his hope that these Indonesians will continue to keep in touch with their friends in Singapore.

He described them as assets to bilateral relations, and said the bonds they have forged individually will collectively help to enhance two-way people-to-people ties.

Calling them “wonderful ambassadors” for Indonesia, he said Singaporeans have learnt a great deal from them while they were in the city state.

Close to 5,000 Indonesian officials have undergone training in Singapore under the Singapore Cooperation Programme. And currently, more than 24,000 Indonesians are studying in the city state.

President Tan said: “We hope that you also developed a better understanding of Singapore and its people. We are happy to call you friends. I hope that you will keep up your ties with us and continue to keep in touch with your Singaporean friends.

“The bonds you forge individually will collectively help to enhance the people-to-people ties between our two countries. This can only reinforce our already strong bilateral relations.”

Source: CNA