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Indonesia Environmental Health Specialist Association - EHSA


Environmental health is an emerging science, technology, practices, and movement towards better human health to live in supportive environment. As in many other countries, in Indonesia environmental health intially dealt with classic basic sanitation and infectious diseases. The first Epidemic Act (Epidemie Ordonantie, Staatsbald No. 299) passed in 1911, and was then substituted by Indonesian Act No. 6 of 19962 regarding Epidemy based on previous Sea Quarantine Act No. 1 of 1992 and Air Quarantine Act No. 2 of 1992. The 1962  Epidemic Act aimed at protecting human health from major infections at that time i.e. typhus abdominalis, paratyphi A, B, and C, bacilli dysentry, hepatitis, para cholera Eltor, diphteria, meningitis, poliomyelitis, and other diseases as defined by Ministry of Health under Health Provision Act No. 9 of 1960.  

Dealing with infectious diseases, on 5 September 1955 a group of health officials from Ministry of Health established Indonesian Association of Health Controler (Ikatan Kontrolier Kesehatan Indonesia, IKKI). Later, on 12 April 1980 in Bandung this association was developed to Indonesian Association of Environmental Health (Himpunan Ahli Kesehatan Lingkungan Indonesia, HAKLI). In practice, HAKLI focuses on sanitarian field and its membership is limited to Ministry of Health staffs and alumni of environmental health diploma (certificate) of health polytechniques. So far, however, continuing professional develepment – as required by laws and regulation – have not been applied.  

Nowdays, environmental health problems become more complex that require appropriate professionalism to resolve. New emerging and re-emerging diseases are jeopardized by modern health risk factors as a result of uncontrolled exploitation of natural resources, compliance with high standard of life demand, population and eco¬nomic growth, consumerism, and unhealthy life¬style. In response to these challenges, a group of active minority among academics at Faculty of Public Health of Universitas Indonesia (FPH-UI) took initiative to establish a professional organization. Professional education as continuing of, but split from, academic education had first been discoursed in the 1998 national undergraduate curriculum workshop of FPH-UI, but it was not respected satisfactorily until 10 years later when international community responded in 2008.

It was Umar-Fahmi Achmadi, Professor and Chair of environmental and occupational health at FPH-UI and Adjunct Professor at Griffith University Australia, who made intensive contact with international community during the 10th International Federation of Environmental Health (IFEH) World Congress in Brisbane, Australia, 11 – 16 May 2008, when he was invited as one of the keynote speakers. Many IFEH council members such as the Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland (REHIS), the Australian Institute of Environmental Health (AIEH, now Environmental Health Australia, EHA) and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH, England, Wales and Northern Ireland), supported UFA idea to establish a professional organization of environmental health in Indonesia. Tripod principle was proposed, that three essential environmental health development should be conducted simultaneously through a. academic education, b. professional association (continuing professionalism through an association), and c. the concept or model of professional practices for competent environmental health practitioner or specialist working independently with standardized expertise and ethical codes of practice.

Two months later, on Monday 21 July 2008, Environmental Health Specialist Association Indonesia was really established in Wisma Makara at UI Depok Campus by environmental health academics from faculty of public health of five leading universities (Universitas Indonesia, UI; Universitas Diponegoro, Undip; Universitas Air¬langga, Unair; Universitas Hasanuddin, Unhas; and Univer¬sitas Su¬mat¬ra Utara, USU) all over Indonesia. EHSA declaration was witnessed by Registered Notary Haji Syarif Tanujaya and Peter Davey (chair, Asia-Pasific region IFEH, now IFEH President). Makara Charter, prepared by Professor U.F. Achmadi and Abdur Rahman, was officially signed by 20 co-founders representing 5 Universities i.e. UI, Undip, Unair, Unhas, and USU.

EHSA Indonesia is national registered environmental health professional organization and full council member of IFEH since 2008. After intensive meetings in Semarang (Undip), Jakarta (UI), and Makassar (Unhas) for consolidation, and under technical assistance of Asia-Pacific chapter IFEH, EHSA has successfully held first national congress and International Seminar on Environmental Health Professional Challenges in the 21st Century in Surabaya, 12 – 14 December 2008. Hosted by FPH-Unair, the congress has elected Bambang Wispriyono (the Dean of FPH-UI), H. J. Mukono (Professor and Dean, FPH-Unair), Nur Endah Wahyuningsih (Head, Environmental Health Department, FPH-Undip) as President, President Elect, and Secretary General, respectively. It firstly participated in the IFEH AGM in Singapore on 18 – 19 July 2009 when World Environmental Health Day was agreed to be launched in Indonesia. 

No more than 15 months after establishment, EHSA received a grant from Indonesian Ministry of National Education to hold International Seminar and Workshop on Research Paper Writing and Publication in Bogor 11 – 13 October 2009. Bernard J. Forteath (then IFEH President) and Tjepy F. Alowie (Director, National Agency for Profession Certification, BNSP) gave keynote speech, while Professor Wah Yun Low (Editor-in-Chief, Asia-Pacific Journal of Public Health) and Professor Nasrin Kodim (Editor-in-Chief, Indonesian Kesmas Journal of Public Health) provided practical assistance in research paper writing. 

Other achievements were membership system, environmental health body of knowledge and standard competency (Semarang, 1 – 2 October 2010; Medan, 30 June – 1 July 2011) and formation of Indonesian Collegiums of Environmental Health (ICEH) (Jakarta, 24 March 2011). During Semarang meeting, EHSA has also provided its expertise in Environmental Management System ISO:14000 training for industries in Central Java. With respect to the competency, EHSA has applied to Indonesian Council of Health Workforce (Majelis Tenaga Kesehatan Indonesia, MKTI) of Ministry of Health for registering, recognizing, and licensing environmental health specialist. Tri Joko (Vice Chair, ICEH; Head, FPH-Undip Environmental Head Department) has very energetically prepared competency assessment portfolio for environmental health specialist certification in a particular discipline (such as health quarantine; food safety; industrial health, environment, and safety; health risk assessment) for one who wish to be eligible to register to MKTI for professional practice license. EHSA in now preparing qualified assessors for this assessment.

Last but not least, in 2011 EHSA hosted IFEH AGM in Bali when World Environmental Health Day (WEHD) was firstly launched. Prior to WEHD proclamation on 26 September 2011, environmental health students across Indonesia held a National Congress and International Summit of Environmental Health Students at Udayana University in Bali, 24 – 26 September 2011. It was Abdur Rahman, Secretary of ICEH, who actively encouraged students to establish environmental health student association as junior member of EHSA. Following one day seminar which were attended by IFEH delegates for 2012 AGM, the students had successfully established Environmental Health Student Association Indonesia (Envihsa Indonesia) with Budiyono Pati (FPH-UI) as first elected President.  

IFEH, with President Peter Davey who has close relationship with Indonesian students, has great contribution to this outstanding achievement with thousands dollar grant. In the WEHD launching, students has also performed
‘From What We’ve Seen’, a special song (hymn) telling about simple but meaningful way to save the earth planet from unhealthy lifestyle.

Unfortunately, this song could not be presented in 12th IFEH World Congress 2012 in Lithuania due to financial problem (in Vilnius AGM, EHSA represented only by Dewi Susanna). However, the song was presented in the second year WEHD celebration on 28 September 2012 in the National Dissemination of Public Health Research at UI Depok campus. Bravo to EHSA and Envihsa….!

Indonesia Environmental Health Specialist Association - EHSA

December 2012