Lisa Alofs dan Rutger Iysselstein, two master’s degree students of Erasmus University, Holland conduct their research in Indonesia. (Photo: by Courtesy)
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UNAIR NEWS – Like a magnet,  Indonesia with its cultural diversity and abundant natural wealth has gained attention from the global community. Besides for its tourist destinations, Indonesia is also interesting as research destination.

That reason brought Lisa Alofs and Rutger Iysselstein to Indonesia, two master students of Department of Virology, Erasmus University, Holland to conduct research here in Indonesia.

Lisa said that this research collaboration has been done for a while. Students of Erasmus University every year come to Indonesia to conduct a joint research.

Conducting research is one of her university requirements of graduation. The fourth year students of master’s program are required to conduct research for 21 weeks anywhere they want.

“Generally other students do research in the Netherlands but we chose to come to Indonesia, “said Rutger known as Yusuf.

Why are they interested in Indonesia? “Because I Love Indonesia, ” said Yusuf.  Lisa’s answer is more practical. “I want to study abroad especially in Asia, and my reason for choosing Indonesia is because the community here is nice, friendly. And it is true, ” she said.

For six months, their research activities were accompanied by a number of researchers from the Tropical-Infection Division. Department-SMF Internal Medicine Faculty UNAIR-RSUD Dr. Soetomo, such as Musofa Rusli, dr., Sp.PD and Prof. Usman Hadi, dr ,. Sp.PD., K-PTI., Ph.D. They do not only cooperate in research, both institutions also support each other in terms of international publications.

Their research activities are mostly done at the Laboratory of RSUD Dr. Soetomo-FK UNAIR, Universitas Airlangga Hospital and UNAIR Institute of Tropical Diseases (ITD).

Lisa and Yusuf observed various tropical diseases. Starting from taking blood samples from patients and observing symptoms from these patients, whether accompanied by headache, fever, or other symptom. After that, they analyze the various symptoms that exist, then concluded the type of virus. From the results they obtained, clinical identification was then performed.

“The case of tropical diseases in Indonesia with the Netherlands is far in comparison. The prevalence of tropical diseases in the Netherlands such as dengue is very small. They are usually infected after traveling abroad, and returned home to the Netherlands with the illness, “said Lisa.

The woman born on February 24, 1993 never thought that the prevalence of tropical diseases in Indonesia is quite high. “More than I think and unfortunately many people died because of this tropical disease,” she said.

Lisa planned to bring back some of her observations to the Netherlands for analysis. “So now I am still collecting some blood samples from patients. After that I  will analyze them in the Netherlands, ” she said.

No doubt, anyone can be at risk of infected various types of tropical diseases, especially people living in tropical countries like Indonesia.

Before being infected, Lisa and Joseph suggested the importance of preventive measures. It’s good for people to recognize the symptoms of tropical diseases, such as dengue fever.

“There are a lot of mosquitoes, so we should use mosquito repellant lotion before going to bed. This is a prevention from being bit by mosquitoes. And prevention is very important, ” said Lisa.

Meanwhile, Yusuf considers awareness to respond immediately is important to do. “It all started with awareness. When you feel unwell, fever, and other symptoms, you should immediately see a doctor. Do not wait long until the disease gets worse, ” said the man born in June 1995.

Collaborative research activities will end in December 2017. Yusuf and Lisa hoped the collaborative research that has been established for many years between Erasmus University and FK UNAIR can be well established.

“FK UNAIR and Erasmus University have done a lot of research and science development together. We hope this cooperation can continue to be established and bring more benefits, “said Yusuf.

Lisa’s arrival to Indonesia was the first time, while Yusuf had previously been around Indonesia, because he have friends in Papua. Although their daily activities are filled with research activities, but these two students still take time to enjoy Surabaya, including the food.

“I have a license, a helmet and a motorcycle. So we can ride anywhere anytime, ” said the man. Lisa claimed that she has no problems with Indonesian food. “I love pecel, and it does not matter because I like spicy food,” he said.

Two words for Indonesia? “Good Life!” Said Lisa, followed by Yusuf who spontaneously said “It’s amazing”.

Author: Sefya Hayu

Editor: Nuri Hermawan

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