Clinic Booster
    Category: Healthcare By : Renjani Puspo Sari Read : 1677 Date : Saturday, September 13, 2014 - 10:48:21

    Ahmad Zamroni / Forbes Indonesia

    Kartika Soekarno—daughter of former President Sukarno and his Japanese wife Naoko Nemoto, known as Ratna Sari Dewi—was once banned from entering Indonesia. His successor President Suharto also did not allow Sukarno’s children to meet their late father. This political pressure apparently deeply impressed and made the young Kartika want to return to the country even more.

    She is now living in Jakarta and actively supporting more than 200 posyandu—an abbreviation for pos pelayanan terpadu, a child and maternal clinic—in Java, Bali and Sumatra to help fight for malnutrition, one of the largest infant problems in Indonesia. According to the government, eight millions babies and toddlers are malnourished. Through her Kartika Soekarno Foundation (KSF), she has channeled $117,000 of the Japan government’s funds last year to improve the clinics’ service and revitalize 49 posyandu.

    “We have trained about 1,000 volunteers, and also provide basic healthcare such as immunization for expectant mothers, babies and toddlers. The ages zero to five is a crucial time for children to get good nutrition because of the impact on their health and brain development,” says Kartika who founded KSF in New York 16 years ago.

    Kartika is a role model for independent women. She sometimes travels alone to the locations to visit her projects, from a small town of Solok in West Sumatra to Gianyar in Bali. She says the volunteers who work for the posyandu always impress her.

    Her interest in posyandu started after she visited several clinics in Subang, West Java, in September 1999. Kartika, who at the time lived in New York, was a member of the U.S. National Committee for Unicef. Later she returned to observe clinics in a slum area of Jakarta for the same project. Together with a Dutch top model Annette Lauer, she raised hundred of thousands of dollars for this healthcare project. 

    As a prominent figure, Kartika can help raise money for charities. For example, she helped Unicef raise $180,000 through a charity event to fund the improvement of education for Indonesian children in remote areas. Currently, she is a member of the American Foundation of Venetian Heritage, which organizes the Venice Art Biennale, and collects funds for the architectural restoration of the city. 

    Last year, she brought English actor Jeremy Irons to Jakarta and Bali to visit the posyandu while also promoting Iron’s environmental documentary film “Trashed” in 39 cities in Indonesia. The film talks about global waste, and features Jakarta’s Ciliwung River and Bali’s beaches as examples of global pollution. “It’s an important message for Indonesia as there is a difficult situation with the trash here,” she says.