The archipelago nation of Indonesia possesses rich diversity, whose unique values and aspects of life have been shaped by years of ineluctable force of globalization. The influence from globalization has created rapid development in the country’s health sector, including deployment of health workers in remote areas and the introduction of novel technologies. After reflecting on the trend of development that has started since the last decade, it is clear that the rapid development in medicine was spearheaded by the maturation of biomedical science. The role of biomedical science has continued to prove its importance ever since, creating a new form of approach known as translational medicine.
Biomedical science as a discipline is currently defined as a branch of knowledge that entails considerable understanding of natural science and life science for the purpose of explaining problems related to medicine. The term biomedical science had not yet existed back in the 20th century. It was only known as a redundant phrase: basic medical science. The change of term was influenced by a series of events in which the field of medicine substantially benefited from the application of natural science and life science. Consequently, the course of paradigm shifts had resulted in the coming of new jargons in medicine. Health professionals from the past century would never come across anything such as molecular diagnostic, drug delivery, drug targeting, gene therapy, stem cells, and so on. In addition, technologies such as NMR (nucleomagnetic resonance) and ESR (electrospin resonance), that were previously exclusive to physicist, have become commonly utilized in present-day medicine. Furthermore, the study of free radicals, a common theme in physical chemistry, was incorporated into medicine and became what we call the free-radical theory of aging. Having said, all the promises of biomedical science are not achieved in an instant. As sophisticated as nanomedicine, or personalized medicine, the utilization requires mastery of molecular genetics, that is admittedly a derivative discipline. It is only after knowing the inside out of natural science that one is able to explore the deep link between events happening at molecular level and the emergence at the organismal level. Therefore, we cannot escape the fact that mastery requires the establishment of strong foundation.
Taking into account all the major changes influenced by biomedical science, from new drugs to new diagnostic methods, Indonesia inevitably has to provide itself with qualified professionals in biomedical science. The country has attempted to respond by implementing “Millennium Development Goals”, a government-supported program for the development of vaccines derived from viral strains endemic to Indonesia. At present, scientists throughout the world are convinced that biomedical science is and will always be an important discipline that works in sync with medicine. As the era of globalization continues, biomedical science has transformed from a mere theoretical study into a main powerhouse in the healthcare industry.
Indonesia is at the point where the country actually feels the need to develop a carefully planned strategy in order to keep pace with the world. Past oversight is a lesson well-learned. The country has observed the price of not being able to perform. For the past few years, Indonesia is a country which lacks the basic means of processing raw materials coming from its own soil. As a consequence, the country ends up becoming a perpetual importer instead of a prolific exporter. All the raw materials are sent outside, and the finished products are sold back at high prices. So the cycle goes on as we watch desperately our valuable goods—great amount of patient samples, biodiversity, and natural products— at the hands of skilled foreigners, morphed into high-priced biotechnology products. Finally it is time take action and end the cycle. It is time to become self-reliant.
The nation saw a glimmer of hope when a group of trailblazers established a formal means to teach biomedical science. Established in 1979, the master program in biomedical science at Universitas Indonesia (PMIB FKUI) is Indonesia's oldest biomedical science graduate program. From there on, schools providing education in biomedical science started to emerge for the past twenty years. One after another, the faculty of medicine throughout Indonesia started to open graduate program in biomedical science. All these schools initially worked under the same goal, which is to study and obtain the knowledge necessary for solving health and medical problems. As the schools navigate through the wave of globalization, some ties were knot and connections were built.
After over 30 years of operating separately all over Indonesia, we decide that it is the right moment, then, to assemble and form a new entity. The new entity, we reckoned, will be an organization that benefits researchers from universities and affiliated centers throughout Indonesia by facilitating the process of mutual exchange of minds. On the year 2009, the heads of the school of biomedical science gathered for the first time. After the first meeting, agreements concerning the standardization of curriculums, qualifications for teachers, and the projected quality of graduates were reached.
On July 4-5, 2015, all twelve faculty of medicine in operation in Indonesia were invited for a National Biomedical Workshop at Brawijaya University. The workshop itself was intended for the finalization of the establishment of the Indonesian Biomedical Consortium (KIBI). The consortium then proceeded to schedule the next meeting, the first KIBI National Congress, which was going to be held on August 26-27, 2015 at Universitas Indonesia. It was during this Congress that KIBI was inaugurated by the Director General of The Ministry of Research, Technology, and Higher Education Republic of Indonesia.
Until now, KIBI holds the responsibility to endorse the importance of biomedical science in educating health workers and in making health policy. Additionally, KIBI will continue to recommend the use of biomedical science as a blueprint for designing research and development policy.