A report from West Sumatra Provincial Health Office (2015) showed that there were 269 cases of rabies in Lima Puluh Kota District, West Sumatera. The number of cases was considered high compared with Agam District with 192 cases and Padang Pariaman District with 167 cases.
The fact has motivated Eka Oktariani, M.Sc., a veterinarian to increase her knowledge about veterinarian medicine and providing good quality of health service in her hometown, Lima Puluh District West Sumatera.
Eka, one of the PRESTASI Scholarship recipient from North Sumatera, pursued a Master's Degree in Veterinary Medicine with a concentration in Epidemiology at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Gadjah Mada University,Yogyakarta.
In the epidemiology program, Eka learned about the distribution and determinants of animal diseases, and also the impacts of the distribution. She also learned how to manage the investigations and control of a disease in a professional way. To enhance her knowledge, Eka also participated in seminars and workshops related to the Epidemiology. She also had the experience to implement what she has learnt in the field by carrying out medical examinations to the horses that are used to pull carriages for the people of Temanggung, Central Java.
What she gained during her study is applied in her current job now. Currently, Eka worked as Head of Livestock and Puskewan Unit, Region III Department of Animal Husbandry and Animal Health Limapuluh Kota District, West Sumatera.
"I am applying the knowledge I gained during my Master's studies in my work. As Head of Livestock and Puskeswan Unit, Region III, I am conducting veterinary animal and public health services – services provided by veterinary science to prevent human welfare from infectious diseases such as rabies –, examination and treatment of infertility problems and reproductive problems in livestock, livestock population data collection, supervision of abattoirs, artificial insemination services, and so forth, "said Eka.
Eka also collects data on livestock populations, carry out a surveillance of contagious animal diseases such as rabies—which can be transmitted also to human beings—, conducts prevention and eradication of rabies through vaccination, animal disease mapping, groups of cattle breeders coaching, and coordinates with the stakeholders such as Wali Nagari, sub-district Heads and Puskesmas (Health Center).
Her Master's studies have also helped her to find out that, in her workplace, the existing data has not been processed appropriately. Supposedly, the existing data can be used for a deeper study that, later on, can be a basis to determine a policy and take decisions.
Based upon the facts and findings, firstly as the plan of action Eka started to collect the rabies endemic data which becomes the highest number of cases in her coverage at the Situjuah Limo Nagari Sub District and Akabiluru Sub District and also difficult to eradicate as well.
Regarding the data collection, Eka began to conduct an epidemiology surveillance on the blood parasite disease in 2015, funded by the Department of Animal Husbandry and Animal Health of West Sumatra which is allocated through the deco centration funding form the Ministry of Agriculture. The results of the study was published in a scientific paper which she later presented in a variety of occasions such as Scientific Meeting of the Technical Meeting (Ratekpil) and the Animal Health Surveillance in 2016 in Surakarta.
Eka who loves sports and traveling admits, her knowledge, experience, and ability cannot be separated from PRESTASI's role. She not only received financial support from USAID to continue her study, but she also gained motivation to help her stay focused on her studies.
Eka also advices young people who want to follow her footsteps to always dare to try and not to be afraid of failure. Success starts with failure. Eka also believes that God Almighty always provides relief with every hardship. "For the young, there is no barrier as long as we believe in our dreams," Eka said.
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