Over past decades, the predominant burden of adult disease in Indonesia has shifted from communicable diseases to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as mental health, obesity, heart disease and cancer. This same period has witnessed a rapid change in Indonesia’s population profile, with a large increase in the number and proportion of adolescents, as improvements in the health of children have increased survival rates. An obvious strategy to address the future burden of NCDs is to cultivate healthy preventive behaviours in adolescence, including healthy eating, regular exercise, and not smoking. Greatly concerning is that unhealthy behaviours in Indonesian adolescents are at high rates and rising.
The primary goal of the Transform program was to develop the capacity of a select group of current and future leaders from a range of sectors in Indonesia in prevention strategies for NCDs, with a focus on adolescence. Specifically, it aimed:
- To increase knowledge of adolescence and the evidence base for effective strategies for the prevention of NCDs at individual and population levels;
- To develop some of the core skills for leadership (effective communication, negotiation, and facilitation), with a focus on working collectively in cross-sectoral contexts;
- To build skills around consulting and engaging with young people, and facilitating their participation in the conception, development and implementation of NCD prevention strategies;
- To develop skills in using social media to support the advancement of prevention strategies for NCDs.
The program was designed to be an intensive, small-group, residential training program bringing together a range of professionals representing different disciplines and sectors. The model was based on a well-established and highly successful Australian program that brought eight rural youth workers together in Melbourne for a residential program run through the Centre for Adolescent Health. Nine delegates, from professions including pediatrics, research, policy, program development and education, spent 10 days hosted by the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Melbourne. They participated in intensive training with experts in adolescence, epidemiology of NCDs, NCD prevention, health promotion, program implementation, youth participation, advocacy and leadership, and social media.
On their return to Indonesia, the delegates developed and delivered a two-day workshop, ‘Indonesian Approach to Transform Adolescent Health in NCDs Prevention’. This largely replicated select sessions of the Transform program for 20 competitively selected colleagues at the Indonesian Academy of Sciences in Jakarta on 14 and 15 April 2018. This is evidence that the delegates saw value in the Transform program, and had the confidence in their own skills and knowledge to deliver it, recognising its potential to transform others too.