COVID-19 Alumni Stories: Nurul Maretia Rahmayanti

Nurul Maretia Rahmayanti (MSc in Health Policy, Planning and Financing, 2019) works as a Health Financing and Policy Specialist at The National Team for The Acceleration of Poverty Reduction, Office of Vice President, Government of Indonesia. Here, she explains how her role has changed since COVID-19 and how she is responding to the outbreak.

How has the COVID-19 outbreak affected your work?

Since the pandemic hit Indonesia, the country’s Government has been implementing a large-scale social restriction policy in some provinces with the highest confirmed cases of COVID-19, including in Jakarta, the capital city where I work. Several business and public facilities have been closed, and many offices have implemented a working from home (WFH) policy to prevent disease transmission at the workplace.

Thus, albeit having an increased workload to provide on-going policy analysis or other responses related to COVID-19, I have adapted to working remotely and coordinating with my colleagues virtually-yet-effectively since mid-March 2020.

How have you been responding to the outbreak?

My team conducted a rapid assessment on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic towards four essential public health services (maternal and child health, nutrition, immunisation, and family planning) across eight districts in four provinces that have been hit hard by COVID-19. We organised a series of in-depth interviews with key stakeholders such as the Ministry of Health, District Health Offices, Primary Healthcare Centers, and Private Midwife Practices to identify the bottlenecks they face, as well as best practice or innovation that they apply to address the current challenges, and to deliver the services during the pandemic. As of now, we have finished the data collection process and are currently conducting the analysis and report-writing process. We aim to be able to provide practical recommendations to the relevant stakeholders on mitigating the disruption and minimising the negative impacts of COVID-19 on these four public health services.

How has your country’s response to the outbreak affected your work?

Due to the WFH policy and several restrictions on travelling outside the city, we conduct the coordination and in-depth interview process with our informants virtually, by using online platforms. Sometimes we find difficulty due to the disparity of IT infrastructures across the country, which is challenging when we do the interview process with informants from a rural area with limited internet or electricity access.

How has LSHTM’s training helped you during this outbreak?

I am thankful to both LSHTM and LSE that have trained me to be well-prepared and competent working on my current role directly after graduating from the schools. The skills equipped me to develop, shape, and implement this rapid assessment that is pivotal to mitigate indirect impacts of the pandemic on other public health services across some regions in the country.

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Information about how you can support, promote and share LSHTM’s COVID-19 Response work is available here.

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