Beloved child, wife, mother, friend | NIA KURNIATI 1965 – 2024

Dr. Nia Kurniati’s passing on January 17, 2024, marks a profound loss for the medical community, especially our INA-RESPOND network family. Her dedication to improving pediatric HIV care, her contributions to research, and her role as a mentor and educator leave a lasting legacy that will continue to influence the field and the lives of those she touched.

Dr. Nia Kurniati, Sp.A(K), MSc, was a respected pediatric HIV specialist and researcher who made significant contributions to the field of pediatric HIV care and research, both within Indonesia and internationally. Born on August 8, 1965, in Bandung, Indonesia, she pursued her medical degree at the Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Indonesia, and further specialized in Pediatric Allergy and Immunology. Dr. Kurniati obtained her Master of Science in Clinical Epidemiology from Utrecht University in 2016. She continued to advance her academic and professional career by participating in a doctoral program at the Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Indonesia (FKUI), where she defended her dissertation titled “Gagal Virologis terhadap Antiretroviral Lini Satu pada Anak Dengan Infeksi HIV: Faktor Yang Me-mengaruhi serta Resistensi yang Didapat” on July 21, 2022. This work focused on virological failure in children with HIV infection treated with first-line antiretroviral therapy, factors influencing this outcome, and the resulting resistance.

As a researcher, Dr. Nia was internationally renowned. She served as an Indonesian pediatrician in TREAT ASIA (Therapeutics Research, Education, and AIDS Training in Asia), a network comprising clinics, hospitals, and research institutions collaborating with civil society to ensure the safe and effective delivery of HIV/AIDS treatment across Asia and the Pacific. Her collaboration within this network, involving the analysis of a pediatric HIV observational database, has yielded more than 30 publications addressing HIV infections in children and adolescents. These publications cover a wide array of topics, ranging from drug resistance, epidemiology, social behavior, and education, to comorbidities and co-infections, as well as virological, clinical, and immunological outcomes.

Collaborating with Julius Global Health at the Department of Pediatrics, University of Melbourne, Australia, and CEEBM at the Medical Faculty, Universitas Indonesia, Dr. Nia authored six publications focused on cardiovascular disease in children with HIV. Additionally, her publications on COVID-19, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenza, and leukemia reflected her interest in non-HIV research as well. In fact, she is the senior author of two publications related to the last two topics. These publications, titled “Nasopharyngeal Carriage and Antimicrobial Susceptibility Profile of Haemophilus influenza among Patients with HIV” and “The Effect of the Combination of Steroid and L-asparaginase on Hyperglycemia in Children with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia,” showcase her significant contributions. In total, 48 of her publications are listed in PubMed, demonstrating her dedication and productivity as a researcher.

Furthermore, her manuscripts have also been published in Pediatrica Indonesiana, the official journal of the Indonesian Pediatric Association. Regarding HIV, she reported the incidence of HIV-infected infants born to HIV-infected mothers under prophylactic therapy as outcomes of the PMTCT program at Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital and analyzed virological failure of first-line antiretroviral therapy in children along with its associated factors.

Prior to her illness, Dr. Nia played an active role in the discussions surrounding the first PROACTIVE manuscript and the conceptual planning for the PROACTIVE Pediatrics manuscript. While her departure is premature, it should not hinder our commitment to advancing this work. On the contrary, it should serve as motivation to persevere and fulfill her vision that the outcomes of this study will bring substantial benefits to HIV clinicians, researchers, communities, governments, and non-governmental organizations to enhance the provision of optimal care for HIV-infected children, who, until now, remain reliant on antiretroviral therapy throughout their lives.

In Islamic belief, three things follow they who have passed away: the charity they gave, the knowledge they taught, and a righteous child who prays for them. We are sure that Dr. Nia has accomplished these three things. She was a wonderful person who dedicated her knowledge to children’s health, education, and research in Indonesia. Her legacy will inspire young medical doctors not only to focus on clinical practice but also to engage in impactful research. Her shared knowledge and good deeds will illuminate her journey hereafter, inshaAllah.

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