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Arifin Panigoro's Footsteps in Fighting Tuberculosis in Indonesia

As the sun rose early on Monday morning (27/2), we were all shocked to receive a sad news about the passing of Indonesia's greatest figures – Dr. HC. Ir. H. Arifin Panigoro bin Yusuf Panigoro. He died in Minneapolis, United States at 14:29 local time (03:29 WIB) at the age of 76 years, about 2 weeks before his birthday.

He is known as a successful entrepreneur in the energy sector and founder of MEDCO Energy, stand for Meta Epsi Pribumi Drilling Company. He was also active in politics and has served the country as a member of the House of Representatives in 1999-2004. On top of that, beyond his success in entrepreneurships and politics, he was also known as a key civil society actor in health development, particularly in efforts to eliminate tuberculosis (TB).

Mr. Arifin’s footsteps in TB response began after a few times he accompanied his wife activities who leads the CSO Indonesian Association Against Tuberculosis (PPTI). Those experiences propelled him to initiate the Forum Stop TB Partnership Indonesia in 2013. He subsequently established the Indonesian Strategic TB Partnership Foundation (Stop TB Partnership Indonesia/STPI) in 2018.

In less than four years since the STPI Foundation was established, Arifin Panigoro's leadership has made a major contribution in efforts to eliminate TB in Indonesia in region and in the world. STPI supported the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Indonesia by organizing two Indonesian side events during the UN General Assembly on Tuberculosis in 2018, the High-Level Meeting on Multi-Sectorial Synergy to End TB with various ministries/institutions in 2019, as well as the TB Presidential Initiative “Gerakan Bersama Menuju Eliminasi TBC” with President Joko Widodo in Cimahi, West Java in 2020. These momentums have succeeded the issuance of Presidential Regulation Number 67 / Year 2021 on TB Care and Prevention. Currently, STPI is partnering with international donor organizations as well as the private sector and formed Community Consortium Penabulu-STPI as the principal recipient of Global Fund to Fight Against HIV/AIDS, TB, and Malaria in the country.

Diah Satyani Saminarsih, as the organization’s Board of Trustees uttered, “When he invited me to get involved in STPI, Pak Arifin noted that the younger generation must continue to address the TB epidemic. Therefore, cross-sectoral, cross-actors and cross-generational partnerships must be formed in TB response. He sets an example for all of us not to remain silent. Although he is not a person with an education background in the health sector, until the end of his life, his deep love for Indonesia was demonstrated through his ideas and continuous commitment, which were very meaningful in building a healthier and more prosperous Indonesia. His full confidence in young people to continue innovating as an expression of their love for our homeland is an exemplar that I will continue.”

Lucica Ditiu, the Executive Director of Stop TB Partnership (global) expressed, “I am devastated by the death of Mr. Arifin Panigoro. I have no words. He was the engine behind STPI and behind main achievements in TB response in Indonesia. He was our champion, mentor, partner and friend. Kind and with a heart bigger than himself, he made a huge difference for people with TB and people that take care of them. His passing is a very deep loss for the TB community globally . His wise advises and energy to end TB inspired us to move boldly and decisively to fight this disease in Indonesia and the global. We already miss him. We will continue this fight exactly as he would have wanted us to do.”

STPI Advisory Board, dr. Carmelia Basri recalls, “I have learned a lot of valuable experiences and lessons throughout the past decade accompanying and support Arifin Panigoro since the formation of the Forum Stop TB Partnership Indonesia in 2013 until STPI was established in 2018 onward. He often said, 'Ibu Mel you have to help me to help the Ministry of Health, to help the Indonesian government and to help TB patients'. He is always kind and helpful to others, that is how he remains in my memory. A big man and powerful figure, yet, he is soft-hearted, a true philanthropist. His service to the nation and to the country in advancing national policies and building partnerships in addressing tuberculosis are extraordinary. After we returned from the UN General Assembly on Tuberculosis in 2018, Pak Arifin was tireless in ensuring the highest political commitment to accelerate TB elimination in Indonesia. The concepts formulated during a series of TB discussion and meetings at the UNGA established STPI’s direction as a driving force for Public Private Community Partnership (PPCP), which he always echoed at every opportunity."

Through his work in STPI, Arifin Panigoro have driven and build partnerships with various stakeholders globally and in Indonesia such as policy makers, public health experts, doctors, academics, business professionals, the media, and young people to eliminate TB. He once said, "Seeing the large number of people who contracted and died from TB and the massive spread, I tried to set my position and invite cross-sectors to work together in fighting TB". Indonesia has lost a key figure who established its efforts to eliminate TB. STPI thanks him for his contribution and will continue his noble vision to end TB and ensure that Indonesians will live a healthier and more prosperous future.

Stop TB Partnership Indonesia

The Indonesian Strategic TB Partnership Foundation or Stop TB Partnership Indonesia (STPI) believes that the elimination of tuberculosis in Indonesia will be achieved through a strong partnership between government, private sector, and civil societies. STPI started as a partnership forum that became a foundation in 2018. STPI works in cross-sectoral advocacy efforts for stronger national TB policies, develop governance model for TB response in districts and villages, and campaigns for TB through social media and mass media. STPI continues to facilitate forum activities that serves more than 120 organizations and individuals who are involved in TB response in Indonesia.

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