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Makassar celebrates baseline data findings and holds randomisation ceremony

31 April 2019

On Sunday 31 March, more than 180 women and men, and girls and boys came together in Makassar to celebrate the completion of baseline sampling. The baseline dataset offers the first-ever comprehensive understanding of environmental and human health in the RISE program's 12 settlements in makassar.

Over the past 18 months RISE researchers have come together across disciplines to design, implement and monitor data collection, in order to produce the baseline dataset. Working closely with Community Engagement Councils – members of the community who act as representatives of their settlements – RISE researchers and teams visited settlements to collect a wide range of data, ranging from height and weight of children, blood and stool samples, qualitative feedback on personal wellbeing, to mosquitos, water and soil samples, and bio-acoustic measurements.

The preliminary baseline findings were shared with the settlements on Sunday at the event, which closely followed World Water Day. Each year World Water Day acknowledges the 2.3 billion people worldwide who lack adequate sanitation, and this year’s theme leaving no one behind presents a call to action for access to clean water, especially for the underprivileged.

The event also involved the successful randomisation of the 12 settlements into two groups: those settlements that will receive the RISE interventions in the first phase, and the later phase. The unique randomisation ceremony saw a young girl and boy from Batua (RISE’s demonstration settlement) who, blindfolded, helped allocate the settlements into the two groups. Allocation was based on a random sequencing system that had been produced by RISE biostaticians.

The Secretary for the Mayor of Makassar Muhammad Anshar participated on the day, along with university department heads, heads of city districts in which RISE operates, international researchers and importantly, community representatives from the 12 settlements and the Batua demonstration settlement.

‘Today is a very important milestone for RISE,’ Mr Anshar said. ‘Our communities and RISE researchers have worked together over the past year to collect important data. Today, we are here to reflect on shared progress and plans for the future,’ he said.

RISE Program Director Professor Rebekah Brown reaffirmed a strong commitment to all 12 settlements for the entirety of the program.

‘RISE is a long-term research program and randomisation is part of our journey. Some settlements will get upgraded sooner than others, but everyone will get a turn,’ Professor Brown said.

‘We have an ambitious few months ahead of us as we move into the co-design process, and we will continue to rely on our genuine relationships within Makassar to make sure community needs are met at every stage’.

The health and environmental data collection will continue for the coming four years across all 12 sites.