INDONESIA

Dr. Debryna Dewi Lumanauw

"When I go to work I wear my PPE, as my life depends on it. Sometimes I work eight hours at a time with no break to eat, drink or do anything else. But no matter where life leads me, I learn that whatever I’ll be, I must have courage"

Debryna, from Central Java, Indonesia, is a doctor on the Government’s Search-And-Rescue (SAR) team in Indonesia.

She joined the national SAR agency at a sad time — just as the country was hit by a chain of earthquakes, tsunamis, floods and landslides in 2018-2019. Debryna is the only woman on her team in the field. She says: “Yes, women might have physical barriers in doing search and rescue, but that just means we ought to figure out a way to work twice smarter than men.”

Now she is working and living in Jakarta’s COVID-19 response centre. She says: “When I go to work I wear my PPE, as my life depends on it. Sometimes I work eight hours at a time with no break to eat, drink or do anything else. But no matter where life leads me, I learn that whatever I’ll be, I must have courage.”

Another challenge she faces in her job is reaching patients in parts of rural Indonesia that are typically inaccessible, and where it’s difficult to obtain resources. Nonetheless, Debryna recounts stories of patients she treated who remember her years later. She talks about a woman she treated after Indonesia’s Mt. Merapi eruption in 2010: “She's a local street-food seller, and until now when I go to her warung (food stall) she’d still remember me as the kid doctor from the eruption.”

It’s these “small wins” that keep Debryna going, despite the odds.