ASHM Regional Twinning and Partnership Program: Northside Clinic in Melbourne and Angsamerah Clinic in Jakarta

The ASHM Regional Twinning and Partnership Program aims at increasing and strengthening the regional collaboration between institutions and health professionals working within the HIV and sexual health field. Through these partnerships ASHM seeks to facilitate the sharing of knowledge, skills and experience gained by health professionals in Australia with colleagues in the region to provide best practice care and support to people living with HIV and AIDS. Indonesia is one of the countries in the region with which ASHM has established collaborative partnerships.

Jakarta based Angsamerah Institution has been an important partner of ASHM since late 2012, providing technical and management support to ASHM’s partners and members in Indonesia, particularly the Indonesian Medical Association (IDI). An important aspect of this partnership has also been to equip general practitioners in the private sector with comprehensive basic knowledge related to the clinical management of HIV and AIDS, STIs, hepatitis, tuberculosis and recreational drug use.

As part of this ongoing partnership Angsamerah has been given the opportunity to take part in ASHM’s Regional Twinning and Partnership Program, linking Angsamerah’s two sexual and reproductive health clinics in Jakarta with Melbourne’s Northside Clinic. Thus, in July 2014, Dr. Jacqueline Piay, one of Angsamerah’s experienced physicians, had been invited to Melbourne to attend a hosted clinic visit at Northside Clinic in the days prior to the AIDS 2014 Conference in Melbourne. Dr. Jacqueline’s visit to the Northside Clinic has marked the starting point of a mutually beneficial and enriching partnership between the two clinics.

In August 2015 Angsamerah had been honored to host Dr. Richard Moore from Melbourne’s Northside Clinic for two days at Angsamerah. On the first day of his visit, Dr. Richard Moore, who had been Dr. Jacqueline’s mentor in Melbourne, visited the Angsamerah Clinic in Central Jakarta, which is a private high-end clinic, providing sexual and general health services, including HIV prevention, treatment and care. Currently, around 150 patients are accessing ART at the clinic, most of whom are MSM. During the visit Dr. Richard Moore had a chance to meet and talk to the whole Angsamerah team, have a guided tour of the clinic, and learn first-hand about Angsamerah’s service system and business model. This was followed by several interesting case study discussions related to challenging cases of the Angsamerah Clinic. During these discussions, Dr. Richard Moore provided the team of Angsamerah doctors with valuable knowledge and inputs, which will help Angsamerah to provide high-quality and up-to-date services.

On the morning of the second day, Dr. Richard Moore gave an interesting and interactive presentation about the latest ART regimen in Australia and globally, about the PrEP policy and related standard operating procedure in Australia, as well as an update on the latest PrEP studies. His presentation was completed with a case study discussion about one of his recent patients at the Northside Clinic.

Dr. Richard Moore’s presentation and accompanying discussion proved to be extremely useful, as within the last few months more and more patients have inquired about PrEP and its availability at Angsamerah, and in Indonesia more generally. Currently, in Indonesia there are no guidelines yet in relation to PrEP. However, Angsamerah has developed its own SOP related to PrEP based on international guidelines and recommendations, and is already providing consultations and monitoring of patients purchasing PrEP locally at a pharmacy (by prescription) or abroad.

After this inspiring morning session, it was time to move on and travel to Angsamerah’s Foundation Clinic (Klinik Yayasan Angsamerah) in South Jakarta, which had been established with support from USAID and COFRA Foundation. Klinik Yayasan Angsamerah caters to mostly middle class patients, many of them being from key affected population groups, in particular MSM and FSWs. Patients referred by one of Angsamerah’s civil society organization partners can access subsidized services at the clinic, made possible by a cross-subsidizing system.

After being introduced to the small medical team of Klinik Yayasan Angsamerah, and having a tour of the clinic and simple laboratory, the two youngest doctors of the Angsamerah team presented some interesting and challenging cases, which they have encountered during their practice. The case discussions turned out to be instructional and enriching for all parties involved, and we strongly hope to be able to maintain ongoing collaboration and communication between the medical teams of Angsamerah and Dr. Richard Moore and his team at Northside Clinic, in order to ensure ongoing learning practice and the sharing of knowledge and experience. Future communication will be mostly web based, and center on the discussion of complex and challenging cases, the sharing of new and updated guidelines, relevant research literature, and the eventual referral of patients between the two clinics.

Angsamerah strongly hopes that the ASHM Regional Twinning and Partnership Program will be continued in the coming years, and allow Angsamerah and its partners in the region to keep learning from each other, and to continue to grow and establish themselves as important players within the regional HIV/AIDS response.

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