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Nurses’ Fight Against Disaster

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

“I lost everything. I just did not want to live anymore”.

It was the voice of a disaster victim in Indonesia that triggered inspiration for the Disaster Nursing Course, a new distance learning program developed by Tokyo Development Learning Center.

According to a newspaper article, victims of natural disasters suffered post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, which lead to increased suicide rates.

This was a call for action by TDLC, who leads Global Development Learning Network Asia Pacific program development. With its knowledge and experience in post-disaaster measures, Japan could make a unique contribution. TDLC happened to have been in the middle of discussions with its Indonesian counterpart in creating a distance learning course on nursing. We decided to focus on disaster nursing.

A quick assessment proved that there was strong demand for studies in disaster nursing in Indonesia as well as in Timor Leste, both highly vulnerable to earthquakes and other natural disasters.

Japanese experts have collaborated in developing the course, based on the Japan Nurses Association’s disaster nursing program syllabus. The course will be delivered on February 17 and 18, combining two networks - GDLN and INHERENT (Indonesia Higher Education Network), Indonesia’s inter-university educational network. TDLC will be connected with the WHO Kobe Center, GDLN centers in Dili and Jakarta, as well as the University of Indonesia, Hananudin University and Udayana University and other INHERENT nodes. This will make possible the participation of more than 500 nurses in Indonesia and Timor Leste, so they will be able to receive lectures from Japan and exchange information with each other through presentations.

The response coming in from Indonesia so far has been very enthusiastic.

Said Nizam, Ministry of Education, Directorate General of Higher Education, still has vivid memories of an earthquake which hit his city in 2005. “My city was severely destroyed. It was a horrible memory but many medics and nurses from Japan came and worked hand-in-hand with our nurses and doctors to help rescue the victims. I am sure that this disaster nursing program, using the GDLN and INHERENT, will be very useful and imperative for Indonesia.”

“Nurses, as front-line health care providers, must correspond to the patient under very difficult circumstances. The nurses themselves may also suffer from the disaster and only limited resources may be available” says Professor Achir Yani, President of the Indonesian National Nurses Association.

“Indonesia is vulnerable to disasters, and skills in management of disaster will impact on the readiness in dealing with disaster or massive number of victims. The nurses can play a very important role in fighting against the disaster for the society, by increasing preparedness among themselves”.

The course will focus on basic disaster medical treatment and nursing skills. It will also cover traumatic stress care for the patient as well as for nurses themselves working under severe conditions—knowledge that is very much in need according to Yani.

“This GDLN program is expected to promote the effective knowledge sharing of the most needed knowledge of disaster nursing among the nurses in different countries and locations by taking advantage of GDLN and INHERENT”, says Ismangil, Marketing Manager, University of Indonesia GDLN.

The TDLC is working to develop knowledge dissemination and capacity building programs with key partners throughout the region. Mental and physical health, family nursing, HIV/AIDS nursing care and climate change are some other areas where a high need for knowledge sharing has also indicated. TDLC looks forward to reporting on the progress of these various programs.

For more information on the Disaster Nursing distance learning course, click here.

This news item is about the program: Disaster Nursing Training Course

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