Expanding in Asia-Pacific to Serve Some of the World’s Most Remote Communities

People wearing masks and lab coats in a lab.

In 2023, Project ECHO made remarkable progress in the Asia-Pacific region, with significant new government partnerships and the growth of programs addressing critical local priorities in health care.

Vietnam’s Ministry of Health signed a Memorandum of Understanding signaling their intent to launch 100 new ECHO Hubs, addressing cancer and other non-communicable diseases. The agreement with the ECHO Institute was celebrated at a signing ceremony in Hanoi in January 2024.

Indonesia’s Ministry of Health also plans to significantly expand its ECHO footprint by developing programs across the country addressing non-communicable diseases and maternal child health. The Ministry signed an MOU with the ECHO Institute in late 2023.

The region’s ECHO network also saw sustained growth in programs addressing cancer care, cardiology, infectious diseases, and neonatal and maternal health.

Dr. Piter Martinez and experts from the Hung Vuong Hospital System

A National Effort: Detecting and Treating Breast Cancer Early

Detecting and treating breast cancer while the disease is still in its early stages is key to a patient’s survival. Indonesia’s Dharmais National Cancer Center and its Ministry of Health saw an opportunity to use the ECHO Model to reverse a troubling trend: nationally, 70% of breast cancer cases were discovered when the disease had already advanced to the late stages.

In a pilot ECHO program, frontline workers—community health workers and nurses— across the country’s 17,000 islands were trained on early detection. They also learned how to teach their patients to screen themselves for breast cancer.

Indonesia is an archipelago; it is impossible, and takes too much time, to bring everyone to Jakarta [for cancer treatment].

But the ECHO Model can reach all of Indonesia. ECHO makes sure people get the right diagnosis earlier, by training all of our health care infrastructure: doctors as well as community health workers and nurses.”

Nisa Wayhuni

Program Coordinator, ECHO Dharmais Cancer Center, Jakarta, Indonesia