Saturday, January 27, 2018

1) Health team tackles measles outbreak in 117 villages in Asmat

2) HRW blames Papua measles on govt

1) Health team tackles measles outbreak in 117 villages in Asmat

Illustration. TNI soldiers chatted with residents while waiting for queue for treatment at health center in Bayiwpinam village, Akat District, Asmat District, Papua. (ANTARA/M Agung Rajasa) ()

Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA News) - An integrated health team has successfully served 117 villages spread in Asmat District, Papua Province, to tackle malnutrition and the measles outbreak.

The team comprised elements from the Health Office of Papua Province, health team of the Indonesian National Army, and the Ministry of Health.

"The first wave of the integrated health team should have been withdrawn, as the team has successfully treated children with measles and malnutrition in 117 villages," Yusuf Wona, a member of the integrated health team from the Health Office of Papua, stated when confirmed from Jayapura, Papua Province, on Saturday.

The first wave of the integrated health team managed to suppress the spread of measles and malnutrition cases in 117 villages.

According to Wona, on Jan 23, the first team had conducted an evaluation and reported the results to the health task force from the Ministry of Health.

"The results of the evaluation data were submitted on the sidelines of the meeting to release the integrated health task force from the Ministry of Health," Wona noted.

The integrated health task force comprised personnel from some hospitals in Jakarta, medical specialists, a joint health team of the Indonesian National Army and Navy, Indonesian Police, non-government organizations, such as Dompet Duafa, and some nurses.

The health task force will continue to offer health services that the first wave of the integrated health team had provided in 117 villages.

"Health services have been started since Thursday (Jan 26) for the next 10 days for rehabilitation, prevention, and treatment," he remarked.

The Indonesian government has deployed various resources and taken utmost efforts to tackle the measles epidemic and malnutrition that have affected Asmat District since September 2017.

The epidemic is believed to have been caused by food shortage, poor environment, and lack of medical personnel and facilities in Asmat, which also has very difficult terrain.

Based on information received on Jan 25, a total of 12,398 children in Asmat have been offered medical check-ups and treatment. 

Of the total children, 646 are confirmed to be infected with measles, 144 are undernourished, four are suffering from both measles and poor nutrition, and 25 others are suspected to have measles.

The children are residents of 117 kampongs in 23 sub-districts: Suator, Kolf Braza, Sirets, Fayit, Aswy, Tiga Isle, Akat, Agats, Jetsy, Kasuari Beach, Der Koumur, Auyu, Suru-suru, Unirsirauw, Sawaerma, Joerat, Ayip, Atsy, Betcbamu, Kopay, Safan, Joutu, and Koroway.

Reported by Musa Abubar

Editor: Heru Purwanto

2) HRW blames Papua measles on govt

Measles in eastern Indonesia’s Papua province has killed around 100 indigenous children this month although the disease is easily preventable with a safe and inexpensive vaccine. 
Human Rights Watch (HRW) said neglect of Papuan basic health rights is responsible while the Jakarta government blames the deaths in remote Asmat regency on nomadic lifestyles. Asmat children have been left out of national children’s vaccination programmes, the group said.
About 129,000 people live in Asmat, a swampy region criss-crossed by rivers that can only be accessed by a flight from Papua’s capital Jayapura followed by a helicopter and boat ride.
Asmat, like many areas in Papua, lacks proper health-care services for its residents and has a serious shortage of medics. Clinics often have no staff and medicines throughout the ethnically and culturally distinct provinces of Papua and West Papua, HRW said.
The resource-rich provinces, which constitute about 25 per cent of Indonesia’s landmass but only contain around 5 per cent of its population, generates massive tax revenue for Indonesia, with the Freeport-McMoRan’s Grasberg copper and gold mine delivering US$600 million in taxes per year.
But indigenous Papuans receive little benefit from Grasberg.
The archipelago’s poverty rates remain highest, in relative terms, in the provinces of Papua, West Papua and Maluku, all in the far east of Indonesia, according to Jakarta’s Statistics Agency.
Papua has the lowest life expectancy in Indonesia and the highest infant, child and maternal mortality rates.
The government increases health problems by restricting NGO access, including medical groups, such as Cordaid from the Netherlands.
Those restrictions are related to the prolonged ban on the foreign media access while a low-level pro-independence insurgency continues.
The United Nations special rapporteur on the right to health, Dainius PÅ«ras, reported after visiting last year that he was “concerned about the health status of ethnic Papuans” and called for greater health investment.
President Joko Widodo has promised to improve health care in Papua and to allow international access to the troubled provinces. But his government has focused instead on physical infrastructural investment, including digging roads through Papuan rainforest.
HRW said: “To prevent the deaths of more children, Indonesia’s health ministry should set up an effective vaccination programme in Papua. Additionally, the government should recognise that international organisations – and allowing media to freely report in Papua – will bolster official efforts to identify and address gaps in Papua’s public health delivery systems.“
An Asmat Longhouse. Picture credit: Wikimedia

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