PJJ Success Story: Empowering Nurses and Midwives for Rural Health

ibu menkes pjj launching3jpg“The competencies of human resources for health still need to be improved regularly through education and training. Especially for those 116,000 nurses and midwives in the disadvantages areas, borders and island (DTPK) and regions with health problems (DBK) such as NTT, Papua, West Papua and East Kalimantan”.

“Long Distance Education (PJJ) is one of successful innovation of Ministry of Health (MoH) that provides an opportunity for nurses and midwives to upgrade their competencies without having to spend time away from their work and family, which would result in a deterioration of the services while they were away”

dr Nafsiah Mboy, SpA, MPh, Minister of Health of the Republic of Indonesia

The competence and quality of nurses and midwives needs to be addressed if worsening maternal and neonatal mortality rates are to be improved. Having sufficient qualified and competent nurses and midwives to address the pressing health care needs of women and children in rural communities across Indonesia is an enormous challenge. Cultural and geographic barriers make it hard for nurses and midwives to leave their homes and travel to educational institutions to improve their competencies to meet the demand for appropriate maternal, neonatal and child care services which are of a sufficient standard and quality.

Half of all Indonesians still live in rural areas where the poor and near poor experience many inequalities and difficulties in accessing effective and efficient health services. There are few options for health professionals to improve critical lifesaving maternal and neonatal knowledge and skills. However, one recently implemented program seems to be well received amongst both partners and health care professionals and represents an innovative and cost-effective approach to skill development: The Long Distance Education (PJJ) for midwives and nurses.

In 2014, the Indonesian Ministry of Health (MoH commissioned the development of 456 learning modules and trained 120 tutors to support the initial competency development of 87 nurses and midwives.  The PJJ system will be used by the Government of Indonesia to conduct a national scale-up of PJJ for midwives and nurses across Indonesia.

The model of PJJ which is fully supported by the Australian Government through Australia Indonesia Partnership for Health Systems Strengthening (AIPHSS) program, and become one the most successful innovation of MoH that provides an opportunity for nurses and midwives (mostly  women) to  upgrade their competencies without having to spend a long time away from their place of work, which would result in a deterioration of the services while they are away.

The Ministry of Health’s PJJ program is a significant step towards improving access and quality to health care for rural communities, especially for women and children as well as promoting women’s empowerment.