JAKARTA, INDONESIA /SINGAPORE - Media OutReach - 16 July 2021 - Tanoto Foundation, an independent philanthropy organization established by Sukanto Tanoto and Tinah Bingei Tanoto in 1981, has launched its inaugural 'Unlocking Potential: Conversations with Tanoto Foundation' podcast series.
The first episode, titled 'Beyond the Pandemic' and available on Spotify and YouTube, features Tanoto Foundation Trustee Belinda Tanoto and infectious diseases expert Professor Tikki Pangestu.
Belinda Tanoto, also a Managing Director at the global resource manufacturing Royal Golden Eagle (RGE) group of companies, has been actively involved in a number of Tanoto Foundation programs in human capital development such as stunting mitigation, poverty alleviation, early childhood education and development, maternal health and leadership development.
In addition to its other long-term focus on improving people's health span through its medical philanthropy, the Tanoto Foundation has since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic collaborated with like-minded partners to provide urgent support to governments and communities in the form of personal protective equipment (PPE), masks, sanitizer and disinfectants, food staple packages, and more recently in Indonesia, oxygen concentrators and supply.
The podcast largely centered on Asia's ability to exit the pandemic, as well as opportunities to accelerate Asian nations' recovery. Professor Pangestu, a Visiting Professor at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, shared broadly on the importance of vaccination, testing, treatment and social responsibility. The former Director of Research Policy and Cooperation at the World Health Organization added that nations have to be prepared to live with the virus as endemic as they exit the pandemic.
Professor Pangestu continually emphasized vaccination as critical consideration for any community to overcome the virus and reduce mortality and hospitalization rates. He cited matter-of-factly Israel, the UK, Singapore and China as countries who have continued demonstrating effective governance and management of the virus amidst the emergence of more infectious variants.
However, he expressed concern over three challenges many developing countries face in supply, logistics and vaccine hesitancy. He suggested that good governance and improving scientific literacy can help a nation achieve herd immunity, which comprises 80-90 percent of the population being fully vaccinated.
Israel and the United Kingdom (UK) serve as two examples of how vaccines reduce not only the spread of the infection but also mortality rates. With about 60% coverage, people in Israel are 30 times less likely to be infected and ten times less likely to be hospitalised. While the UK, which has 30-40% coverage, deals with the more infectious Delta variant, there is a significantly lower mortality rate.
Governments alone cannot battle the virus. Both Ms. Tanoto and Professor Pangestu agreed this was where public-private partnerships could help boost efforts in vaccination campaigns and public health communications. Professor Pangestu acknowledged that while private organizations played important parts in financing purchase of vaccines, oxygen and personal protective equipment, they could bolster efforts in public health communication, advocacy and education to overcome vaccine hesitancy.
Broader collaboration will reduce vaccine inequity, expand vaccine access and hasten the pace at which vaccines are administered. The podcast touched briefly on Indonesia's 'gotong royong' mass vaccination campaign, a public-private collaboration aimed at sharply increasing the number of vaccines administered to people across the world's fourth most populous country. Professor Pangestu added that private healthcare institutions such as private hospitals and clinics, along with pharmaceutical companies were vital in the distribution and delivery of vaccines to the population.
The Singapore-based researcher said that individuals could play a vital role, citing how celebrities, influencers, community and religious leaders have helped to amplify the vaccination campaign, public health advisories and good hygiene practices.
The conversation moved to the role philanthropies and non-profits could play to not only contribute to herd immunity but also safeguarding public health. Professor Pangestu said that philanthropies have continued to also support medical research, contributing to the growing body of knowledge that will spur the discovery of effective solutions in vaccinations and treatment.
In 2017, Tanoto Foundation contributed a transformational gift to the SingHealth Duke-NUS Medical Centre to establish the Viral Research and Experimental Medicine Centre @SingHealth Duke-NUS (ViREMiCS). This was in addition to establishment of Tanoto Foundation Professorships in diabetes research, cardiovascular medicine and medical oncology respectively in 2013, 2014 and 2016. In addition to supporting human capital development programs and the realization of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), the Foundation has also contributed broadly to medical philanthropy as it seeks to meaningfully contribute to research in Asia-prevalent diseases and to the improvement of health span of populations globally.
Catch 'Beyond the Pandemic' on:
Spotify - https://open.spotify.com/episode/6Cvz587R9vQ5K8PvuWyblf YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kU6YbvHTAB8 About Tanoto Foundation
Tanoto Foundation is an independent philanthropic organization founded by Sukanto Tanoto and Tinah Bingei Tanoto based on the belief that every person should have the opportunity to realize his or her full potential. Tanoto Foundation programs stem from the belief that quality education accelerates equal opportunity. We harness the transformative strength of education to realize people's full potential and improve lives. Tanoto Foundation focuses on making an impact in three areas: improving learning environments, future leaders development, as well as medical research and sciences.