Indonesian Ministry of Health Moves Rapidly to Overcome Malnutrition and Measles in Asmat District

Entering the first month of 2018 the Ministry of Health (Kemenkes) received reports of cases of measles (Morbili) and malnutrition experienced by a number of infants under-fives in Agats Sub-district, Asmat District, Papua.

The Ministry of Health expressed a sense of empathy for patients and their families who are currently undergoing treatment at Asmat General Hospital. In addition, the Ministry of Health remains to monitor and provide assistance in efforts to address the problem that has been running at the district and provincial levels.  Kemenkes also appreciate the media which has put great attention to the public health situation in Asmat district, Papua.

Based on a report from the provincial health office of Papua, 3 tons of supplementary feeding (PMT), 800 vial measles vaccine and 10,000 pcs of 0.5 ml syringe were delivered to Agats district.  A health worker from Asmat district is still in the field for mass immunization against measles. Other medicinal needs to date are still sufficient.

Kemenkes has also coordinated with the provincial health office of Papua and continues to collect some of the data needed in determining the mitigation measures, either the assistance that can be provided by the central government and/or the fulfilment of the resources needed by the province. At the central government level, the Directorate General of Public Health, the Directorate General of Disease Prevention and Control, the Directorate General of Health Services, and Kemenkes Research and Development unit are preparing a team that will conduct visitation, supervision and assistance for health workers who will be dispatched to Agats, Papua, in the near future.

Kemenkes will also conduct interventions, especially in the placement of human health resources  in the district of Asmat, either through Nusantara Health program, compulsory work of specialist doctors, as well as individual special assignment.

As reported, Kemenkes received reports that Asmat hospitals received referral cases of measles or morbili and malnutrition since January 8, 2018. The number of measles cases was recorded as many as 22 patients (6 inpatients and 16 outpatients).  Meanwhile, 8 patients were reported with malnutritions (2 inpatients, 5 outpatients, and 1 patient died).

President Joko Widodo has also asserted that the government is not silent about the extraordinary incidence of measles and malnutrition that has occurred in Asmat District, Papua Province, in recent months.

According to the President, he has ordered the relevant officials to immediately take to the field to solve the problem that has caused the loss of life.

“We have sent the team a couple of days ago or last week, they have actually started to go in September.  They have been sending additional food but it is very difficult terrain,” said the President to journalists at Bung Karno Main Stadium, Jakarta on Sunday 14 January 2018.

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