A Papuan woman and their children wait for medical treatment at local clinic at Ayam village in Asmat district in Indonesia's easternmost Papua province on Jan. 26, 2018. (AFP/Bay Ismoyo)
As many as 12 students from Yogyakarta-based Gadjah Mada University (UGM) have been sent to complete a community service work program, known as KKN, in Asmat regency, Papua, to help the regency deal with the recent health crisis that has seen an extraordinary occurrence (KLB) status be declared for measles and malnutrition.
The students were the first KKN students ever deployed to Asmat, UGM’s community service director Irfan Dwidya Prijambada said. The group would be stationed in the regency’s capital of Agats for 45 days.
During their stay, the students will be tasked with initiating a health promotion program as well as a community empowerment program focused on the sectors of education, the economy and environment.
For the first batch of students ever sent to the area, their main task would be to build trust with the community, Irfan told the students during the official departure ceremony at the university’s campus in Yogyakarta recently.
Trust was pivotal to the long term success of the program, which would be continued for at least three consecutive years with different batches of students, he said.
Irfan added that the program in Asmat was held in response to the recent measles and malnutrition outbreak that had claimed the lives of at least 72 children in the regency as of February 2018.
Of the 12 participating students, 10 are students of UGM’s school of medicine. The other two are from the school of geography and the school of economy and business.
“Hopefully our students’ contribution in Asmat will be just the beginning of a change in the people’s mindset and behavior so that another KLB will not occur again and other unwanted occurrences can be prevented as well,” Irfan said. (rin)