Asia Trek: Exposure to Development, Health, and Equity in Indonesia

Through Asia Trek, the Equity Initiative provides Fellows with a weeklong immersion into the health equity challenges of an important Asian country. The 2018 Asia Trek, held August 5-12, focused on Indonesia and the ways in which its development context, policymaking processes, and social and cultural practices shape access to quality healthcare services, particularly for poor and vulnerable populations.

The Trek’s busy schedule featured discussions and “fireside chats” with several senior leaders, who shared their perspectives on ways to build effective policy as well as their own leadership journeys. Entrepreneurs, activists, and development specialists also play important roles in advancing equity in Indonesia, and several discussed ways to drive change at the grassroots level in order to alleviate poverty and improve delivery of health services.

Field visits were one of the highlights of the Asia Trek week, as Fellows broke into small groups for firsthand exploration of equity challenges in four communities. Hosted by community members and introduced to local specialists and families, the Fellows took an up-close look at challenges in education in remote areas (Rinca Island); mother and child care (Komodo Island); health and nutrition of children (Oelbiteno village); and human resources for health (Takari villages). They subsequently brought their observations and ideas back to a full-group discussion on practical solutions to equity challenges.

The level of enthusiasm among the Fellows – for equity issues, for leadership development, and for collaboration – remains strong, and Fellows spent the last portion of the program translating that enthusiasm into ideas for their equity projects, to be refined at the Project Accelerator in late October.