Harnessing Science for Healthy Communities of Central Tapanuli

Success is where preparation and opportunity meet. ~ Bobby Unser

Marlina Meilani Simbolon

Photo 1. Marlina Meilani Simbolon

Opportunity may come multiple times, but not everyone use the wisely. It seems what the former racer, Bobby Unser, said is right. The chance alone would not be able to deliver success. If the opportunity is combined with the preparation, then it can turn into success.

Marlina Meilani Simbolon, one of the PRESTASI-USAID scholarship alumnus, have proven it. When the opportunity to pursue a higher education appeared, Marlina quickly grab it and made the best possible preparation to obtain this scholarship.

This decision brought a sweet result. She obtained the scholarship and admitted in the University of Indonesia (UI) to study Field Epidemiology. This field of study emphasized on skills in obtaining, processing, and analyzing data. Therefore she spent her time mostly outside the classroom.

She benefited a lot from her study. Marlina got the the opportunity to present her research at various Epidemiology conferences and received several awards at the National Scientific Conference on Epidemiology (NSCE) in 2013 and 2014. She also participated in Field-Based Joint Outbreak Investigation organized by the ASEAN + 3 in cooperation with the Ministry of Health. The participant for this training came from six ASEAN countries, namely Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Indonesia as the host. The activities carried out during the five-days training include the activities to prevent the Chikungunya fever outbreak in West Bandung regency. "In addition to knowledge and skills, I felt lucky because I could expand my network and collaborate with others in the field of epidemiology and public health," says Marlina.

Currently, Marlina is working as staff in the Office of Health, Central Tapanuli. Since 2009, Marlina was in charge in the program arrangement, especially to develop the health profile of Central Tapanuli district. Yet, after completing her study, she was transferred to the control of health problems division, under the section of outbreaks and disasters, in order to maximize her newly-acquired knowledge.

Marlina is optimistic that the combination of science and work in this new section will bring greater benefits for herself and society as well. She will do better to help create healthy communities of Central Tapanuli and avoid the outbreaks of infectious diseases.

Marlina Meilani Simbolon

Photo 2. One of Marlina’s activity as a staf in the Health Office, Central Tapanuli.

In addition to working as a staff of the Office of Health Central Tapanuli, Marlina is also a lecturer in STIKES Winda Husada Sibolga Nauli where she teaches the Epidemiological Surveillance subject. The knowledge she gained during her study for her master degree is very useful when she teaches. Greater knowledge allows her to carry out the transfer of knowledge to the students.

"For the younger generation of Indonesia, we are the young shoots that are needed by this country, rise up and seize the opportunities that exist even when they are small and rare, and strive from the place where you stand and do it now," Marlina closes.