The Good Clinical Practice training, first led by USAID SHERA’s Center for Collaborative Research Acute Respiratory Infections (CCR ARI) in 2017, sought to improve local doctors’ capacity in disease prevention. One of CCR ARI’s affiliates, Universitas Syiah Kuala (Unsyiah), soon took the training back to Banda Aceh and began to replicate it for medical practitioners and researchers alike. CCR ARI, led by Universitas Padjadjaran from 2017-2020, sought to enhance the capacity among Indonesian universities to perform quality and high-impact research on disease prevention.
When two Unsyiah researchers attended CCR ARI’s Good Clinical Practices (GCP) training in July 2017, the university originally saw the training as a good learning opportunity for some of its staff. However, once the researchers returned and began sharing their lessons learned, Prof. Maimun Syukri, the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, saw that the training could have a broader impact in the community. If Unsyiah itself replicated the training for doctors at the university and in the local hospital RSUD Zainoel Abidin, the doctors’ skills could be enhanced, and the hospital services would be positively impacted. Moreover, by holding the training locally in Banda Aceh, it would be less expensive to conduct, making it possible for Unsyiah to train more faculty and doctors.
In April 2019, Unsyiah successfully conducted its own GCP training for its doctors and researchers. The training aimed to provide participants with new perspectives on current health issues, particularly in respiratory infections. Additionally, new protocols and standards for handling patients were introduced. “The outcome of this training was to have GCP-certified doctors that could improve services in the hospital and the quality of the research,” noted Dr. Ichsan, Unsyiah’s SHERA Partnership. Seeing the positive outcomes of the first training, the Dean soon convinced RSUD Zainoel Abidin, a state-owned hospital in Banda Aceh, to organize and replicate a similar training in May 2019 for its clinical doctors in the hospital.
According to Ichsan, those trainings had a significant impact on Unsyiah faculty and RSUD Zainoel Abidin. It improved the capacity of Unsyiah’s researchers as they learned new knowledge on current health issues, while for RSUD Zainoel Abidin, the training significantly contributed to its accreditation appraisal process. As a result, RSUD Zainoel Abidin successfully maintained its status as a state-owned hospital with ‘Paripurna’ (perfect) scores in the hospital’s research implementation and number of GCP-certified doctors. The trainings also presented the opportunity for Unsyiah to broaden its networks, as Unsyiah invited experts in from other universities to participate. Furthermore, Prodia, one of the largest clinical laboratory chains in Indonesia, provided the facilitator for the training, as well as funding support. Collaboration with Prodia demonstrated to Unsyiah that by expanding partnerships beyond academia, there is great potential for broader public health research and outreach.
CCR ARI has significantly contributed to the improved capacity of Unsyiah’s Faculty of Medicine. Ichan reflected, “Through SHERA and CCR ARI, Unsyiah has had good opportunities to improve our researchers’ capacity, including the opportunity to submit academic papers to international conferences and to participate in international trainings.” Unsyiah has also begun to adopt knowledge-sharing practices. For example, if its researchers attend an international seminar or training, they are now encouraged to share their experience and training with their colleagues and faculty members. On an institutional level, Unsyiah learned to look for new external opportunities for funding and collaboration. Through its GCP training collaboration with Prodia and the local government, Unsyiah now understands that public-private partnerships present unique opportunity for effective public health outreach in local communities.