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The Role of Occupational Therapy in Realizing Sustainable Development Goals in Indonesia

Universitas Indonesia > News > News Highlights > The Role of Occupational Therapy in Realizing Sustainable Development Goals in Indonesia

Occupational therapy is a health service that aims to help individuals build or improve skills for everyday activities and participate in various roles. It increases access to health services and supports mental health and rehabilitation through health promotion in community-based programs. One of which is designing programs that focus on mental health, such as group therapy for individuals with mental health conditions to promote well-being.

On the other hand, occupational therapy also contributes to improving inclusive education through support for children with special needs. “The strategy is to advocate for inclusive education. Therapy for children with disabilities,” said Shaniff Esmail, M.Sc., Ph.D., Chair and Professor Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta, at a public lecture on the Occupational Therapy study program, Vocational Education Program, Universitas Indonesia (UI ) entitled “The Role of Occupational Therapy in Implementing The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)” on Tuesday (02/04) at the Vocational Auditorium.

Nevertheless, there are still various challenges for occupational therapy science in Indonesia, such as insufficient awareness of the benefits of occupational therapy, limited access to occupational therapy development, and difficulty in collaborating with other health professionals due to a lack of interdisciplinary understanding. One of the other main challenges is the inadequate number of human resources for therapists. In Indonesia, occupational therapy education is only available in two higher education institutions, one of which is Universitas Indonesia.

Shaniff added that actions to develop an occupational therapy curriculum and create competent therapists through various developments, such as interdisciplinary collaboration. “In addition, research projects related to the impact of occupational therapy interventions on achieving the SDGs can be done. This research can collaborate globally through outbound programs, where students can study the implementation of SDGs in different contexts,” said Shaniff. Another strategy is to invite practitioners who are actively involved in implementing SDGs and provide a final project.

During his visit to the UI Vocational Education Program, Shaniff was also a guest lecturer for the Occupational Therapy study program. Besides, collaboration between the University of Alberta and UI Vocational Education Program will be explored through teaching and research. Director of the UI Vocational Education Program, Padang Wicaksono, S.E., Ph.D, explained that public lecture activities featuring lecturers and practitioners from abroad will provide interesting experiences for students in deepening their knowledge.

“As an educational institution that creates graduates ready to work in industry, we strive to provide quality learning. We also teach students to be more aware of world challenges, including implementation and its role in realizing SDGs 2030,” said Padang. Align with what Shaniff said in the formulation of SDGs 2030, Occupational Therapy contributes to three goals of developing community welfare: SDGs number 3, Good Health and Well-being; number 4, Quality Education; and number 10, Reducing Inequalities.

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