HSP recently partnered with the Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin, Australia to support a HOT NORTH Visiting Fellowship for an exceptional graduate student from Indonesia’s Bogor Agricultural University. Vincentius ‘Arca’ Testamenti was mentored for two weeks (May 13-26, 2018) on best practices for diagnosis of melioidosis – an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei found in soil and water.
The following are Arca’s thoughts on this experience:
“I am Arca, a graduate student majoring in Primatology, at Bogor Agricultural University, Indonesia. It is such an honor for me to visit Menzies School of Health Research and Royal Darwin Hospital to experience hands-on trainings on diagnostic techniques of melioidosis. Through the HOT NORTH Visiting Fellowship supported by Health Security Partners and HOT NORTH, I was given a chance to experience several aspects of melioidosis: diagnosis in clinical settings, generating new knowledge in research settings, and environmental study in patient’s surroundings.
Learning all those things surely feels like constructing a big picture from smaller pieces of a puzzle, since I was facilitated to perform a whole package of microbiological identification, serological assays, molecular assays, and environmental sampling. The most valuable take-away lesson was the interconnections between each diagnostic technique – how to construct your way of thinking, how to respond to particular results, what kind of follow-up tests need to be done, etc.
I have been reading reports and research articles about the burden and magnitude of melioidosis. But being in a place where hundreds of patients and many animals fall victim to the disease, and hearing stories about the loss, turned out to be a surreal experience for me. It encourages me to do my best in my research, especially in the veterinary aspect of the disease.
I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Health Security Partners and HOT NORTH program at Menzies School of Health Research for funding and supporting this Visiting Fellowship. It was a great visit.
And you know, you have not really visited Darwin unless you spent some time cuddling a crocodile!”