The number of dengue fever cases in Bantul Regency had increased from 2018 to 2019. Piyungan District had the highest number of dengue fever cases among other districts in this regency, with 134 cases. According to the data from Bantul Health Agency, up to 160 people have been infected as of early February 2020. We expect to see the increasing number of cases through next May.

Concerning this issue, the Faculty of Biotechnology of Universitas Kristen Duta Wacana (UKDW) is drawn to conduct epidemiological and entomological surveillance to find the factors causing the increase of dengue fever cases in Bantul Regency, especially in Piyungan District. Dengue fever and other infectious diseases are very complex and dynamic that their containment needs a cross-disciplinary approach as well as interaction and synergy with health and environment authorities to develop an effective early warning system, vector surveillance & control, and comprehensive disease handling. 

To study the increase of dengue fever and other infectious diseases, the Faculty of Biotechnology of UKDW has built a partnership with Bantul Health Agency to conduct surveillance and epidemiological control and make a recommendation concerning technical and strategical effort in containing epidemics in Bantul Regency, to improve the quality of health services in Puskesmas (community-based health center), to open students’ insights by engaging in problem-solving in the community through student internships, and to empower the community in various disciplines, especially in health.

The Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) signing between the Faculty of Biotechnology of UKDW and Bantul Health Agency was conducted on Wednesday, March 11, 2020, officially marked the partnership between the two. Taking place at the Afiat Room of Bantul Health Agency, the MoA was signed by the Dean of the Faculty of Biotechnology of UKDW Drs. Kisworo, M.Sc. and the Head of Bantul Health Agency Agus Budiraharja, S.K.M., M.Kes. This event was also attended by the Vice Dean for Student Affairs, Scholarships, and Alumni of the Faculty of Biotechnology of UKDW Drs. Djoko Rahardjo, M.Kes., representatives from the Office of Partnerships and Public Relations of UKDW, as well as Local Administration of Bantul Regency and Bantul Health Agency officials.

Agus Budiraharja in his opening remark stated that dengue fever cases in Bantul Regency are high, especially in Piyungan. The year 2020 is a five-year cycle in the increasing case of dengue fever, thus it needs special handling. In 2019, 1400 dengue fever cases were recorded in Bantul Regency, though the mortality rate was considered low with 4 fatalities. As the rainy season was coming, many infectious diseases such as dengue fever and leptospirosis disease, are threatening public health, thus Bantul Health Agency feels the need to join hands with universities to formulate strategies to tackle these infectious diseases in the community. Agus hoped through this partnership, the Faculty of Biotechnology of UKDW can be involved in improving the quality of public health in Bantul Regency.

This partnership will push faculties at UKDW, especially the Faculty of Biotechnology to help the government, particularly Bantul Health Agency in mitigating infectious diseases through surveillance activities and research conducted by students and lecturers, said the Dean of the Faculty of Biotechnology Kisworo. (Lia – translated by humasukdw/drr)