World Health Day is celebrated on 7 April through activities and events such as campaign on health issues or remembrance of influential figures in health links. Indonesia has aplenty of such experts, including Prof. Dr. Mas Sardjito, MD., MPH.
“Not only did he give service to the state of Indonesia during the independence wars through emergency treatment and drugs making for troops, he also did research in medicine that contributed to the world medical development,” said medical professor from UGM, Prof. Sutaryo, on Saturday (7/4).
Sutaryo added World Health Organization (WHO) in its release in 1960 included Sardjito in the panel of experts for Serology and Laboratory Aspects. Indeed, Sardjito’s role in serology was great, especially when he was instructed by the Indonesian government to take over Institut Pasteur and led the Indonesian Red Cross in Bandung which was established on 9 September 1945.
“In both agencies, he made vaccines for Indonesian citizens and troops. He also initiated the blood transfusion method and storing in the country,” Sutaryo said.
Sardjito was also an active writer. His writings were published in mass media, books, and scientific publications, not just on health issues but also others such as social, cultural and educational topics. From 1914 – 1941, as many as 34 writings of Sardjito were published in Dutch journals, Geneeskundig Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsch-Indië. His first article was even written when he was still studying at the School tot Opleiding van Inlandsche Artsen (Stovia), Batavia (now Jakarta).
Sardjito also discussed types of diseases in Geneeskundig Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsch-Indië, from diabetes mellitus, typhus, dysentery, leptospirosis, leprosy, to rhinoscleroma. But almost half of the writings in the Dutch journals were reviews on leprosy and leptospirosis. Sardjito that joined International Leprosy Association investigated leprosy in Indonesia between 1932 – 1942. He also investigated the use of iodine Chaulmogras aethylicus for leprosy therapy.
Not only that, Sardjito was interested in culture, too. In 1951, Sardjito was elected Chairman of Indonesian delegation to the UNESCO. He once conducted research on the reliefs of Borobudur Temple, themed The Revival of Sculpture in Indonesia, which he delivered to the Science Congress 1953 in Manila. This helped make the Temple famous around the world. Afterwards, the Indonesian government moved quickly to submit the restoration of the Borobudur Temple proposal to UNESCO in 1955. Restoration was eventually started in 1973 and in 1991 the Temple was named as World Heritage.