Siti Fadilah

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Siti Fadilah Supari
17th Health Minister of Indonesia
In office
21 October 2004 – 20 October 2009
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
Preceded by Achmad Sujudi
Succeeded by Endang Rahayu Sedyaningsih
Personal details
Born (1949-11-06) November 6, 1949 (age 68)
Surakarta, Central Java, Indonesia
Nationality Indonesian
Spouse(s) Muhammad Supari (deceased)
Alma mater Gadjah Mada University
University of Indonesia
Occupation Cardiologist
Profession Physician

Siti Fadilah Supari (born 6 November 1949 in Surakarta, Central Java), is a cardiology research specialist, a former health minister of Indonesia and a convicted corruption felon.[1] She gained global notoriety in 2007 when she took on the World Health Organization's practice of sharing avian influenza virus samples.[2][3] In June 2017, she was convicted of corruption and sentenced to four years in jail for accepting bribes in relation to the procurement of medical equipment.[4]

Minister of Health[edit]

Supari was appointed Minister of Health by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on 20 August 2004. She served until 22 October 2009 when she was succeeded by Endang Rahayu Sedyaningsih, an epidemiologist and close advisor in her team.[5]

Influenza debate and standoff with WHO[edit]

On 3 August 2006, Supari made the unprecedented move by announcing that the Indonesian government will make genomic data on bird flu viruses accessible to anyone. Supari said, opening up global access could be the key to unlocking such important information as the origin of the virus, how it causes disease, how it is mutating, the sources of infection, and how to prevent or cure the virus.[6] "But in future cooperation on bird flu with other countries, the delivery of specimens should be regulated under Material Transfer Agreement documents as is commonly practiced in scientific cooperation," Supari added. The Economist wrote, Supari started a revolution that could yet save the world from the ravages of a pandemic disease. That is because Indonesia's health minister has chosen a weapon that may prove more useful than today's best vaccines in tackling such emerging threats as avian flu: transparency.[7]

It was unclear at the time what prompted Supari to share data, given the widespread reluctance of countries affected by the H5N1 virus to share their data, out of fear such disclosure could trigger economic sanctions.[8] An editorial published in Nature just days before, highlighted this problem with China's practice of belatedly publishing details of a case that tested positive for the virulent H5N1 strain in 2003 — contradicting the government's official line that none had occurred before November 2005. Although not mentioning Supari by name, the editorial also addressed a confirmation by the World Health Organization (WHO) that a cluster of eight cases[9] in an extended family in Northern Sumatra was the first unequivocal occurrence of limited human-to-human transmission of the H5N1 virus.[10]

On 22 August 2006, two weeks after Supari made her announcement, Nancy Cox, the director of the influenza division at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) communicated in a press release that following Indonesia's announcement, it too made genomic data on bird flu viruses publicly accessible.[11] The following day a correspondence letter appeared in Nature shedding light on what had triggered the sudden shift in Supari’s stance and that of the CDC. The scientific community had just been introduced to Peter Bogner, the new driving force in the virus sharing debate.[12][13]

Supari would later describe in her book an affinity for Peter Bogner, his plea to her government to share its bird flu virus data and his concern when she annoyed the US administration at times.[14] Supari wrote, he told me indirectly my speech had been too sharp, or Peter Bogner has the capability to change the world’s opinions.[15] A former broadcast executive at Time Warner, he was not only familiar with intellectual property issues, but more importantly, he was friendly with Supari’s government following his role in the 2004 tsunami relief efforts.[16] He would turn out to be the mastermind behind the GISAID initiative, a mechanism devised and financed almost exclusively by him.[17]

When Supari attended the 61st World Health Assembly on 16 May 2008, the day GISAID’s database was launched, Supari made available genetic H5N1 data alongside other countries like China and Russia.[18][19] Within four months, this publicly accessible resource offered the world’s most comprehensive collection of influenza data.[20]

Claiming Western governments could be developing viruses for dissemination in the developing world with the goal of generating business for pharmaceutical companies, Supari refused WHO researchers access to Indonesia's H5N1 bird flu virus samples in 2006.[21] Indonesia resumed sending some H5N1 samples to WHO after a new agreement that developing nations would get access to vaccines.[22]

2009 flu pandemic[edit]

During a press conference on 28 April 2009, Supari reassured the public over the government's response to the swine flu threat and responded to a question on the origin of the H1N1 virus and whether it could have been man made. Supari stated she was not sure whether the virus was genetically engineered but it's a possibility.[23] Several news outlets, among them Bloomberg News and the Times of India, reported about an investigation by the WHO into a claim by an Australian researchers that the swine flu virus circling the globe may have been created as a result of human error.[24][25] Australian virologists Adrian Gibbs, John Armstrong and Jean Downie suggested in a paper[26] published in the Virology Journal, the new H1N1 strain, may be the product of three strains from three continents that swapped genes in a lab or a vaccine-making plant, suggesting its origin could be more simply explained by human involvement than a coincidence of nature.[27]

On 12 May 2009 Supari expressed her dissatisfaction of seeing a lot of foreign medical students in Indonesia. She asked Universitas Padjadjaran Rector, Bandung to cut down foreign student intake in phases especially from Malaysian while visiting Cicendo Eyes Hospital, Bandung. [28]

Supari was instrumental in the termination of the United States Naval Medical Research Unit Two presence in Jakarta, and NAMRU-2 departed Indonesia in 2010. A 2008 memo revealed by Wikileaks indicated her personal suspicion of an "American military laboratory" in Indonesia not under her control. This is despite the fact that NAMRU-2 had been operating in Indonesia on the campus of the Indonesia Ministry of Health for decades.[29]

Personal life[edit]

Supari is a cardiology research specialist based in Jakarta. Supari was married for 36 years to Muhammad Supari until his death in 2009. Supari is fond of karaoke singing and sang for her husband just days before his death.[30]

Corruption conviction[edit]

On 16 June 2017, Fadilah was convicted of corruption and sentenced to four years in jail. Jakarta Corruption Court found she had accepted bribes related to the procurement of medical equipment for the Health Ministry's crisis center in 2005. She was fined Rp 200 million (US$15,042), although her actions had caused Rp 6.15 billion in state losses. The court ruled she had abused her authority as minister by accepting bribes of Rp 3.2 billion from two directors of PT Graha Ismaya in the form of traveler’s checks. She was ordered to return Rp 550 million to the state after previously returning Rp 1.35 billion. Her former subordinate Rustam Pakaya was also sentenced to four years in jail over a 2007 procurement corruption case that caused Rp 21.3 billion in state losses.[31]


  • It's time for the world to change - In the spirit of dignity, equity and transparency - Divine hand behind avian influenza, ISBN 978-979-17357-0-4


  1. ^ The Jakarta Post (26 April 2011). "Health Ministry being continuously picked on: Siti". The Jakarta Post. 
  2. ^ Jiang, Yuxia (20 March 2008). "Indonesia accuses U.S. of abusing bird flu virus". Xinhua News Agency. Retrieved 31 December 2012. 
  3. ^ Stephanie, Nebehay (20 November 2007). "WHO hopes to resolve row on bird flu virus sharing". One India News. Reuters News Agency. Retrieved 31 December 2012. 
  4. ^ "Former Indonesian health minister sentenced to four years for accepting bribes". The Jakarta Post. 16 June 2017. Retrieved 5 August 2017. 
  5. ^ "Indonesia, Dr. Endang Rahayu Sedyaningsih, MPH, Dr. PH., Minister of Health". The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Retrieved 5 January 2013. 
  6. ^ Rukmantara, Arie (4 August 2006). "Bird flu data now open to all". The Jakarta Post. PT. Bina Media Tenggara. Retrieved 5 January 2013. 
  7. ^ A shot of transparency (10 August 2006). The Economist. The Economist Newspaper Limited Retrieved 5 January 2013.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ Branswell, Helen (4 August 2006). "With Indonesia's say so, WHO to share bird flu data with scientific community". The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. The Canadian Press. Retrieved 5 January 2013. 
  9. ^ Global Alert and Response (31 May 2006). "Avian influenza – situation in Indonesia – update 16". World Health Organization. Retrieved 5 January 2013. 
  10. ^ "The time for sitting on flu data is over". Nature. 441 (1028). 29 June 2006. doi:10.1038/4411028b. Retrieved 5 January 2013. 
  11. ^ CDC Media Relations (22 August 2006). "CDC and APHL Make Influenza Virus Sequence Data Publicly Accessible". United States Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved 5 January 2013. 
  12. ^ Quirk, Mary (October 2006). "Non-WHO global initiative on sharing avian influenza data". The Lancet Infectious Diseases. Reed Elsevier. 6 (10): 621. doi:10.1016/S1473-3099(06)70589-8. Retrieved 8 January 2013. 
  13. ^ Mary Quirk (October 2006). "Non-WHO global initiative on sharing avian influenza data". The [Lancet Infectious Diseases]. [Reed Elsevier]. 6 (10): 621. doi:10.1016/S1473-3099(06)70589-8. Retrieved 6 January 2013. 
  14. ^ Fadilah Supari, Siti (2008). It's Time for the World to Change: in the spirit of dignity, equity, and transparency: Divine Hand Behind Avian Influenza. Sulaksana Watinsa Indonesia. p. 127. ISBN 978-979-17357-0-4. Retrieved 8 January 2013. 
  15. ^ Fadilah Supari, Siti (2008). It's Time for the World to Change: in the spirit of dignity, equity, and transparency: Divine Hand Behind Avian Influenza. Sulaksana Watinsa Indonesia. p. 40. ISBN 978-979-17357-0-4. Retrieved 8 January 2013. 
  16. ^ Nicholas Zamiska; Betsy McKay; Almut Schoenfeld; Nonna Fomenko (31 August 2006). "A Nonscientist Pushes Sharing Bird-Flu Data". The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, Inc. p. B1. Retrieved 8 January 2013. 
  17. ^ "Influenza scientists, WHO face off in virus row". International Herald Tribune. The New York Times Company. AP. 3 October 2008. Retrieved 8 January 2013. 
  18. ^ McDowell, Robin (16 May 2006). "Indonesia agrees to hand bird flu information to new online database". [The Associated Press]. Retrieved 8 January 2013. 
  19. ^ Irwin, Rachel (Spring 2010). "Indonesia, H5N1, and Global Health Diplomacy". III (2). Global Health Governance. ISSN 1939-2389. Retrieved 8 January 2013. 
  20. ^ Robin McDowell (3 October 2008). "Influenza scientists, WHO face off in virus row". The Jakarta Post. AP. Retrieved 8 January 2013. 
  21. ^ "Q&A: Siti Fadilah Supari" (fee required). Nature News. Nature Publishing Group. 2007-12-09. 
  22. ^ Wulandari, Fitri (2007-02-16). "Indonesia to resume sending H5N1 samples to WHO". Reuters. Thomson Reuters. 
  23. ^ "Indonesian minister says swine flu could be man-made". ABS-CBN Interactive. Agence France-Presse. 28 April 2009. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  24. ^ Jason Gale; Simeon Bennett (13 May 2009). "Swine Flu May Be Human Error; WHO Investigates Claim". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 5 January 2013. 
  25. ^ Kounteya Sinha (May 16, 2009). "H1N1 flu: WHO rubbishes lab test gone wrong theory". The Times of India. Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. Retrieved 5 January 2013. 
  26. ^ Adrian J Gibbs; John S Armstrong; Jean C Downie (24 November 2009). "From where did the 2009 'swine-origin' influenza A virus (H1N1) emerge?" (PDF). Virology Journal. 6: 207. doi:10.1186/1743-422X-6-207. PMC 2787513Freely accessible. PMID 19930669. 
  27. ^ Bennett, Simeon (24 November 2009). "Scientist Repeats Swine Flu Lab-Escape Claim in Published Study". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 5 January 2013. 
  28. ^ Rambu Kota (2009-05-12). "Menteri Minta Mahasiswa Kedokteran Asing Disetop". Rambu Kota. Indonesia. Menteri Kesehatan Siti Fadilah Supari mengaku kurang senang melihat banyaknya mahasiswa dari luar negeri belajar ilmu kedokteran di negeri ini.... 
  29. ^
  30. ^ "Almarhum Ir Muhammad Supari, Suami Menkes Siti Fadilah Supari, akan Dimakamkan di Karawang". Badan Nasional Penempatan dan Perlindungan Tenaga Kerja Indonesia. Antara News Agency. 29 March 2009. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  31. ^ "Former Indonesian health minister sentenced to four years for accepting bribes". The Jakarta Post. 16 June 2017. Retrieved 5 August 2017. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Achmad Sujudi
Minister of Health
20 August 2004 – 22 October 2009
Succeeded by
Endang Rahayu Sedyaningsih