A Focus on Capacity Building for Indonesia’s Future Health Diplomats
Indonesia, a G20 member state and the largest economy in Southeast Asia, is an example of an emerging player within global health diplomacy. For instance, the country recently hosted the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) ministerial meeting in November 2018, which was followed by events such as its chairmanship of the GHSA in 2016 and the Global Fund board in 2013. The growing role of Indonesia is politically and socially important given the population size of the country and its strategic geographical location, not to mention its increasing influence in wider global governance.
Indonesia’s growing interest in a more prominent role, however, needs to be accompanied with the necessary capacity in health diplomacy. The Government of Indonesia, as with other emerging economies, needs to invest in strengthening its diplomacy skills to enhance its involvement in the staging of global health diplomacy. Within the realm of global health diplomacy, there is a growing recognition on the importance of capacity building for stakeholders. Capacity building is especially important to reduce gaps of diplomatic skills between health and non-health actors. Thus, it is also an effort to ensure that all stakeholders, particularly in Indonesia, who often encounter significant global health burdens from both communicable and non-communicable diseases, can engage successfully with global health diplomacy.
Realizing the importance of capacity building for global health diplomacy, Indonesia One Health University Network (INDOHUN) launched its first ever Global Health Diplomacy training to prepare Health Workforce both in health and diplomacy toward proper handling of pressing global health concerns. This training is the first Global Health Diplomacy training in Indonesia and Asia. The first Global Health Diplomacy training was held in Jakarta (August 25-30, 2017) focusing on “AMR issues”. In the next year, GHD training batch 2 was held in Bandung, West Java (August 25-29, 2018) with the theme of “Health in the Sustainable Development Goal’s Era.” Following the success of its two trainings, INDOHUN in 2019 will hold the third edition of the Global Health Diplomacy training with a focus on “Disaster Management issues.” The GHD batch 3 was held in Ciloto, West Java (April 4-12, 2019) in collaboration with Center for Health Training (BBPK Ciloto), Ministry of Health of Indonesia. The training was accredited by the government and will be adopted as one of the mandatory requirements for the head of each health district.
The Global Health Diplomacy program is a five-day intensive training, combining theoretical learning and practice, aiming to prepare participants with diplomatic and policy making skills in negotiation, collaboration, and multi-level decision making processes. The program structure consists of a series of lectures, a diplomatic practice class, and Diplomacy in Practice Simulations (DPS). This GHD training has a mission to create an advanced generation in Indonesia that is able to play an active role in global health diplomacy with a target of producing 100 health diplomats in 3 years. Government representatives, young health and health-related professionals, and NGO representatives attend the GHD training. All participants come from various disciplinary backgrounds, including veterinary medicine, public health, medicine, nursing, international relations, and law and economy sciences. Professor Wiku Adisasmito, a health policy expert who is also the coordinator of INDOHUN, stressed that the application of Multi Stage Negotiation Simulation in this GHD training aims to give participants more realistic diplomatic protocols. In the simulation, they are required to be able to be Indonesian Health Diplomats with high integrity for the nation and state.