The highly successful Asian Regional Applied Management Training Conference was held in Bogor, Indonesia on 25-26 July 2017. With conference theme “Strengthening Health Systems through Applied Management Training,” the two-day event drew 108 participants from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, USA, Viet Nam, and the host country Indonesia.
The conference was opened on Tuesday, July 25 by Bogor City Mayor Dr. Bima Arya Sugiarto, who welcomed participants to his city and stressed on the need for data to guide policy formulation and implementation. During the opening plenary session, Indonesian staff from the Ministry of Health and the academe spoke expounded on the need for empowering health workers, not just with technical skills, but with management skills as well.
The opening plenary was followed by an oral presentation session moderated by Dr. Manilay Phengxay (Lao) and Dr. Phung Duc Nhat (Viet Nam). Five quality improvement projects were presented by management training alumni from Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea. The presentations by Ms. Bouaphanh Khamphaphongphane on “Improving Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) Surveillance in Lao PDR” and Dr. Abel Yamba on “Improving HIV Reporting in the National Capital District, Papua New Guinea” were judged as the best oral presentations.
In the afternoon, conference participants had a choice of attending one of the following concurrent workshops offered: Supportive Supervision, Effective Training, Risk Assessment, and Program Evaluation.
On the morning of the second day of the conference, Wednesday, 26 July, a plenary session on Management Training Initiatives was held. Staff from the Philippines, Viet Nam, and Indonesia shared their experiences and future plans for their national training programs (Philippine Field Management Training Program, Viet Nam Leadership and Management Capacity Strengthening Program, Indonesian Applied Management Training Course). Ms. Erika Willacy from US CDC also gave a presentation on the agency’s Improving Public Health Management for Action (IMPACT) Program.
After the plenary session, conference participants were treated to an interactive and highly engaging poster presentation session at which 16 projects were presented (8 quality improvement projects and 8 health intervention projects following the HAPPS model). Ms. Nancy Dabu and Dr. Vikki Carr De Los Reyes’ presentation on Improving the Timeliness of Capture of Health Events in the Philippine Event-based Surveillance and Response (ESR) System was judged as the best quality improvement poster presentation. The posters on Diarrhea Prevention and Control in Lao PDR by Ms. Bouaphanh Khamphaphongphane and Dr. Latdavanh Mouanchanh and Reducing Sharp Injuries among Health Care Workers in Johor, Malaysia by Dr. Thilaka Chinnayah were judged as the best presentations of HAPPS projects.
In the afternoon, Dr. Conky Quizon (SAFETYNET) moderated a town hall session on fostering professionalism in the public health sector with Dato Dr. Fadzilah Kamaludin (Malaysia MOH) and Dr. Gita Maya Koemara, MHA (Primary Health Service Directorate, Indonesia MOH) as guests.
During the closing ceremony, a video message from Dr. Michael Malison (founding director of US CDC’s Sustainable Management Development Program or SMDP) was screened. Dr. Malison congratulated the conference organizers and spoke of the need to continue empowering health workers with management skills especially in resource-constrained environments facing various public health threats. Dr. Hariadi Wibisono, President of PAEI, closed the conference on behalf of the Indonesian hosts and thanked participants for attending the conference.
After the closing ceremony, participants were treated to a tour of and a fellowship dinner at the nearby botanical garden.
This conference was organized by the South Asia Field Epidemiology and Technology Network (SAFETYNET), the Indonesian Epidemiology Association (PAEI) and the Ciloto Health Training Center (BBPK Ciloto). Participants expressed their wish for similar conferences to be held in the future to generate support for applied management training, build networks among alumni, and share best practices. SAFETYNET plans to organize a side meeting on applied management training during the SE Asia and Western Pacific Bi-regional TEPHINET Meeting to be held in Vientiane, Lao in 2018.