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New funding will help researchers pursue life-saving impact in Indonesia

22 July 2019

A team of mathematicians are set to address the development challenges facing emergency medical services in Indonesia after securing £559k in funding.

Time-sensitive medical emergencies are responsible for one-third of deaths in low and middle-income countries. Many of which could be avoided with access to pre-hospital treatment and timely arrival at emergency departments.

Indonesia sees frequent earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunami, and localised incidents like landslides, floods, and forest fires. Until recently, the country had no public ambulance provision to support its 264 million population. In 2018 alone, it is estimated that natural disasters claimed the lives of more than 4,000 people and displaced around 3 million people.

Indonesia is now trying to develop an integrated national emergency response system but faces many challenges, including a vast geographical area, unpredictable road networks, congestion problems, and a lack of ambulances.

Data Innovation Research Institute director, Paul Harper, Dr Daniel Gartner, Dr Vince Knight, and Sarie Brice from the School of Mathematics have proposed new mathematical models that will be used to overcome Indonesia's unique challenges.

Working with the Indonesian National Emergency Ambulance (118) Service, the research team hope to bring about life-saving improvements to the health care system, lowering patient waiting times, increasing patient outcomes and survival rates for all in society.

The mathematicians are delighted to have been awarded £559k for two years by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and are looking forward to making a start on the exciting research programme in October.

The Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust (WAST) will support the project, offering guidance and paramedic training to their Indonesian partners. Professor Aryono Pusponegoro, Director and Founder of the Indonesian 118 Emergency Ambulance Service Foundation, and Dr Justin Boutilier, MIT (Humanitarian Supply Chain Lab at the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics) will also be supporting the project.

Researchers at the Cardiff School of Mathematics have a history of putting maths at the heart of medicine to engineer life-saving improvements. In 2015, Paul Harper with Professor Jeff Griffiths completed similar research to help the National Health Service (NHS) in England and Wales. Maths Saves Lives continues to be a huge success, helping to save lives and cut costs in the UK health service. The team hope to replicate this success in Indonesia.

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