The Leaderboard profiles the people behind the policies of the Asia-Pacific. This post features Nafsiah Mboi, Minister of Health for the Republic of Indonesia.
Who is she?
Nafsiah Mboi is a pediatrician and health activist who has been deeply involved in public policy for over three decades. She received a Masters in Public Health from the Prince Leopold Institute of Tropical Medicine in Belgium in 1990 and was a research fellow at Harvard University’s Takemi Program in International Health, where she became involved in HIV/AIDS research and prevention. She has been extremely active in women and children’s health and HIV/AIDS, and served as head of gender in the World Health Organization’s Women’s Health Department. In 2006, she was appointed by Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as the head of the National AIDS Commission, where she is credited with great success in HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention.
Why is she in the news?
Nafsiah Mboi was sworn in as Indonesia’s Minister of Health June 14. Her predecessor, Endang Sedyaningsih, was a popular figure who died May 2 after a very public battle with cancer. Nafsiah therefore enters office with unusually high visibility and expectations.
What can we expect from her?
Nafsiah will likely hold the position for only two years since Yudohyono’s term will end in 2014, but she is already making waves. She had a heated exchange with House members on June 26 over a plan to provide free condoms to individuals at risk of HIV/AIDS, defending the policy and reiterating the social and individual burden of the disease. Indonesia has to overcome major hurdles in order to meet its Millennium Development Goals by 2015, including in the areas of maternal mortality and HIV/AIDS, where progress has been weakest. Indonesia seems to have a strong advocate in these areas in the new minister.