Yogyahealth – a report on the Bernd Rode Award winning project 2016
Yogyahealth is an outstanding ASEA-UNINET collaboration project between European and South-East Asian partners, which was awarded the Bernd Rode Award 2016 and furthermore honoured by a certificate of gratitude by the Universitas Gadjah Mada in 2016. The project was founded in the year 2008 by Matthias Lechner, MD, PhD, and an Indonesian colleagues and supported by Univ.-Prof. Bernd Rode, Univ.-Prof. Erich Schmutzhard and Univ.-Prof. Walter Kofler and the Indonesian leadership team, incl. Prof. Mo Hakimi, Prof. Ova Emilia, Prof. Bing Tan, Dr. Sagung Indrasari, et al. The collaboration was founded and continuously developed by financial means of ASEA-UNINET.
Meanwhile the project comprises three different parts: (i) the “Yogyakarta Head and Neck Cancer Prevention and Early Detection Programme” (www.yogyahealth.org/ent), specifically addressing the prevention and early diagnosis of cancer in the field of ENT, (ii) the “Yogyakarta Public Health Promotion Link” (www.yogyahealth.org/publichealth), focusing on the Smoking Awareness und Smoking Prevention Programme and (iii) the “Yogyakarta Women’s Health Initiative” (http://www.yogyahealth.org/womenshealth), which specialises in screening and early detection of cervical cancer in Yogyakarta province. This also includes an online portal for physicians and patients with validated patient information leaflets in the local language.
Dr. Lechner’s recent work focused on the establishment of a screening programme for nasopharyngeal cancer which is endemic to South-East Asia. Without an endoscopic examination of the nasopharynx early-stage cancer is frequently missed and, hence, patients in rural and poor regions around Yogyakarta often present with cancer at an advanced stage at the time of diagnosis. Generous donations by the companies Olympus, Medtronic and Tristel in 2015 and a very generous donation by the company Storz in 2016 helped to equip ENT-medics in two different hospitals with special medical equipment that allowed a thorough examination of patients by endoscopic means and the ability to obtain a biopsy sample under direct vision. This will lead to a significant reduction of negative biopsies in cancerous cases. As the equipment is now located in two peripheral hospitals, patients who either are not referred or do not have the financial means to travel to Yogyakarta can be examined using an endoscopic system locally. According to data from the Dr Sardjito Hospital in Yogyakarta, 50% of all head and neck cancers can be ascribed to nasopharyngeal cancer.
In March 2016 Dr. Lechner started preparatory work for a further research collaboration on screening for nasopharyngeal cancer and visited peripheral hospitals with the prupose of educating doctors together with the Yoyakarta team. This stay in Indonesia then coincided with the 15th ASEA-UNINET plenary meeting, where Dr. Lechner was awarded the Bernd Rode Award 2016. The financial means associated with the award were used for visiting Indonesia once again in August 2016, together with Mrs Cindy Teh and Mr Cepi Maryadi as well as other co-workers from the company Storz, where the new equipment was handed over to the medical teams in peripheral hospitals. Dr. Ima and her team in the Wonosari District Hospital received endoscopes and a brand-new LED system with instructions and training by Dr. Lechner. The second system was given to Dr. Mugi and his team at Banyumas District Hospital.
In a ceremony of thanks at Gadjah Mada University Dr. Lechner was handed over a certificate by the Dean of the faculty, to express the gratitude to ASEA-UNINET and the project team. In the future a smartphone application for data collection and for raising public awareness of symptoms and early signs of nasopharyngeal carcinoma shall be developed and potentially expanded to other programmes. Furthermore, a project on tracheostomy care has already been conducted under Dr. Lechner’s supervision, showing improvement of quality of patient care after the donation of tracheostomy care equipment.