Political persuasion: data alone won’t do the job. So come help us do better.

Tertarik tentang ekonomi dan politik kesehatan? Mau interaksi dengan pejabat, pengusaha, toko politik? Ayo, megabung dengan tim peneliti kami, untuk membangun koalisi yang peduli mutu obat di Indonesia.

For all the endless talk of “evidence-based policy” and “listening to the scientists”, we know that data presented by researchers doesn’t lead directly to political action. Different interests (poltical, economic, societal, cultural) have to be taken into account in setting research questions, and when collecting and interpreting data, if the research is to lead to action. So you really need to involve those different interests right from the start of your research. If you “get” that, and you are Indonesian, interested in the politics of public health and, especially, the quality of the medicines Indonesian patients take; if you also have great social skills and the patience to work with multiple government agencies, please consider joining our research team.

Job decription: Policy Engagement Manager for Medicine Quality Estimates Study

You’ll be employed by Univeristas Pancasila, Jakarta, and working with an interntational research coalition that includes Imperial College London and Erasmus University Rotterdam. You’ll work 70% (about 4 days a week). You speak fluent Indonesian, and good English. Start date: immediate. Appply by February 15, 2021


Protecting society from poor quality medicines is a formidable task for national medicine regulatory authorities, especially in a resource-limited setting such as in Indonesia. Indeed, there are no globally recognised methods for estimating the prevalence of substandard and falsified medicines in a country, or for assessing their impact on health or the economy. Although post-market surveillance is a routine activity for medicine regulators, even this is done differently in different countries. With support from the UK government’s National Institute for Health Research, the Faculty of Pharmacy at Universitas Pancasila (UP) will collaborate with Imperial College London and Erasmus School of Health Policy and Management (ESHPM) to pilot a sentinel surveillance system for medicine quality, and to develop methods for estimating the prevalence, health and economic impact of poor quality medicines.

The concept arose from earlier research into the factors that incentivise the production, trade or consumption of falsified or substandard medicines. While the medicine regulator bears primary responsibility for assuring quality, this work reveals that many other institutions, actors, regulations and practices also have a profound effect on shaping risk. Understanding which medicines are most likely to be of poor quality thus involves the collection of secondary data from a large number of public and private sources, a process which involves active engagement with a number of institutions.

Over the next three years, we plan to work actively to develop, maintain and/or expand engagement with other institutions whose decisions and behaviour shape the quality of medicines. We believe their early involvement will contribute to policy-relevant analyses, improve research uptake and improve inter-actor communication in the ongoing effort to ensure that Indonesian patients are not exposed to fake or substandard medicines. We hope that they will contribute data, interpretation, policy suggestions and methodological improvements to our work.

Working with key governmental partners under the guidance, for example, of the Coordination Ministry for People’s Welfare, we will invite participation in a high-level consultative group known as the PokJa Estimasi Mutu Obat or PEMO [Working Group on Medicine Quality Estimates] Under the consultative group will be three Technical Working Groups, comprising the prevalence, health, and economic impact estimates working groups. The PEMO will include representation from institutions whose decisions and actions shape the quality of medicine in Indonesia; several of these are listed below. Membership of Technical Working Groups (TWGs) will bring together sub-sets of institutions with more specialised expertise. Ad-hoc members may also be called to contribute knowledge and experience as needed. The research team, including the Senior Policy Advisor, has existing relationships with some, but not all, of the institutions we hope to involve.

We seek to appoint a Policy Engagement Manager to guide and administer the establishment and functioning of the PEMO and technical working groups, to establish and maintain relationships with members, to provide technical inputs, and to help integrate PEMO advice into the programme of research.

Scope of work

The selected candidate is expected to provide the following work:

  • In consultation with the research group’s Senior Policy Advisors, develop a strategy in approaching and engaging the PEMO members
  • Develop communication materials to introduce the study to potential PEMO members including expected support from each stakeholder
  • Maintain relationship with PEMO members and the key opinion leaders from PEMO member institutions throughout the study, including disseminating study progress
  • With the support from the policy assistant, undertake administration (e.g. formal letters, invitation letters) necessary for effective engagement with government and other institutions
  • Develop and maintain a systematic monitoring tool (in Excel spreadsheet) to monitor interactions and communication with all the PEMO members, engagement milestones, and actions plans relevant to each of the interactions
  • Provide a short monthly engagement report for internal use, and participate in a monthly meeting with the research team to monitor and review the PEMO process
  • From the research team, gather and organise data and other material needed for PEMO/TWG meetings; prepare briefing summaries ahead of meetings
  • With logistics support from the policy assistant, plan, manage, and attend all of the PEMO/TWG meetings, and provide a written summary from each meeting
  • Work closely with policy researcher to systematically collect or gather relevant information for policy learning e.g. meeting minutes, internal working group memo, other technical documents

Eligibility criteria

  • Master degree, preferably in Public Health/Health Policy/Public Policy/Health Administration/Pharmacy or other related fields, or equivalent experience
  • Familiar with the roles and responsibilities and political dynamics of actors that influence the Indonesian health system in general – and especially pharmaceutical markets – is an asset
  • At least 5 years experience in working in the area of health policy or policy engagement, and with a broad network in Indonesian health sector
  • Proven record of interaction with senior figures in government or business
  • An active listener and communicator, with excellent people skills
  • Has good management skills
  • Good command of English

For interested candidates, please send your CV and cover letter to: qualitymedicines_nihr@univpancasila.ac.id, cc: amalia.hasnida@gmail.com no later than 15 February 2021.

Author: Elizabeth Pisani

Dr. Elizabeth Pisani is the convenor of the MedsWatch group. She’s an epidemiologist by training and a political economist by persuasion, and is most interested in the messy places where biomedical evidence clashes with politics, money and culture.

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