A senior Indonesian health official says a vaccination campaign in Asmat will move to other Papuan districts in coming months after a deadly outbreak of measles.
As many as 100 children are feared to have died in the outbreak which has struck malnourished communities.
Director of Surveillance and Health Quarantine at the Ministry of Health Jane Soepardi has just returned from visiting Korowai tribespeople in one of the remotest parts of Asmat.
She said the health team she was with vaccinated children and adults to protect against multiple diseases.
She said a coming nine month mission ordered by the president will involve the army which had its own medical teams and can help with transport in hard to reach parts of the region.
"Asmat is not the only district with this condition. The other districts might soon have the same problem, measles outbreak and malnutrition, so the army plans to have the same mission with the other districts in Papua."
Dr Soepardi said there were four cases of malnutrition in the area she visited.
She said the malnourishment stemmed from dependence on rice rather than the traditional sago, swampy terrain which inhibits agriculture and other changes in traditional eating habits.
Dr Soepardi said her health team also vaccinated for diptheria which had broken out in other parts of Indonesia.
"Many of the teams, workers, dispatched to Asmat, Papua are coming from the infected diptheria outbreak area, from Java mostly so we are afraid that this might cause diptheria outbreaks in Asmat."
She put the measles outbreak down to people carrying it back to their homelands, which had no immunity, after gathering for festivals in the Asmat capital.
She said another problem in Asmat was the lack of manpower and the government planned to address the lack of health care workers in the district.
"Some health centres have zero manpower," she said.
2) Indonesian teams scramble to attend Papua measles outbreak
2:37 pm today
Indonesian health teams are scrambling to attend to the deadly measles outbreak in Asmat district of Papua province.
In the past few months, around 60 children have died from the disease in the remote district where malnutrition cases are also soaring.
Since reports of the extent of outbreak filtered out of Papua earlier this month, Indonesia's government has moved quickly to attend to the situation, but is copping criticism for neglecting the health of Papuans over many years.
Papua's police commander, Boy Rafli Amar last week said the number affected by malnutrition had surpassed 10,000, which was exacerbating the measles problem.
An integrated health team to respond to the crisis has been dispatched from the Papua Province Health Office, Indonesian National Army, and the Ministry of Health.
The team was armed to supply Asmat villagers with medicine, vaccines, medical equipment and nutritious food.
A spokesman for the team told the Antara news agency that they had successfully attended to 117 Asmat villages where he said the measles outbreak had now been suppressed.
The epidemic is being attributed by health officials to food shortage, a poor sanitary environment, and a lack of medical personnel and facilities in Asmat.
Based on information received on 25 January, 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.
The NGO Human Rights Watch has fingered blame for the measles outbreak in Papua on the Indonesian government.
It said while Jakarta blamed the deaths in remote Asmat regency on nomadic lifestyles, it is the government who has neglected basic health rights of Papuans.
Human Rights Watch said that Indonesia could have prevented the deaths by establishing an effective vaccination programme in Papua. The current programme is patchy and has not included Asmat children, according to the NGO.
Despite Papua region's abundant resources, which provide significant revenue for the Indonesian state, Papua continues to lag in human development outcomes.
Across the whole Indonesian republic, the highest poverty rates, in relative terms, are all in its far east provinces of Papua, West Papua and Maluku, according to Jakarta's Statistics Agency.
The health situation is of particular concern. Papua has the lowest life expectancy in Indonesia and the highest infant, child and maternal mortality rates. Diseases such as malaria, leprosy and malnutrition have strong footholds in in Papua, as does HIV/AIDS.
Although since coming to power in late 2014, President Joko Widodo promised to bring greater economic and social development to Papua, as well as improved health care, the welfare of Papuans appears to have deteriorated.
In the past couple of years, several reported outbreaks of endemic diseases in various parts of Papua have killed hundreds of people.
The government still significantly restricts access to Papua for international humanitarian and health NGOs who could help bolster public health services.
The United Nations special rapporteur on the right to health, Dainius Pūras, reported after visiting last year that he was "concerned about the health status of ethnic Papuans" and called for greater health investment.