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Slow response to measles outbreak in Papua

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Solidarity to help Asmat health crisis by young people in Biak Island, West Papua Province/Paul Finsen Mayor facebook

Jakarta, Jubi – Indonesia’s Government has come under fire for its slow response to a severe measles outbreak in the province of Papua that has claimed the lives of dozens of children.

The alarming number of deaths in Asmat has also led to outrage in local Indonesian media, as ABC news reported.

But Jakarta defended its response and said the remote area was difficult to access quickly.

“Yes we have very limited means and staff but this doesn’t mean we aren’t trying very hard,” Agats health department spokesman Steven Langi told Al Jazeera.

“What we need is not just to be criticised, but real help. Those who criticise us I want to invite to work here.”

Indonesia’s Government announced it was setting up a taskforce in Papua to help contain the outbreak and the Indonesian military said it was also sending more medicine and doctors to the province.

Scramble to attend Papua measles outbreak

Indonesian health teams are scrambling to attend to the deadly measles outbreak in Asmat district of Papua province, as reported by RNZI (29/1).

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 epidemic is being attributed by health officials to food shortage, a poor sanitary environment, and a lack of medical personnel and facilities in Asmat.

Jakarta responsible

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.(abc.net.au/RNZI/Zely)

Headlines

ULMWP plans peaceful movements in seven indigenous territories

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United Liberation Movement for West Papua Action Committee (ULMWP) team – Jubi / Hengky Yeimo

Jayapura, Jubi – ULMWP going to hold peaceful demonstrations in seven indigenous territories of West Papua on 24 – 28 September 2018.

Ice Murib, the spokesperson of action committee for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), stated in a press conference held in the Papuan Customary Council, Expo Waena on Wednesday (08/19/2018).

The central theme is to give full support to Vanuatu and other Pacific countries to address the issue of West Papua to the UN General Assembly 2019.

“We will conduct a peaceful movement in indigenous territories of Mamta and Animha on 24 September 2018 centred in Hollandia (Jayapura), whereas the same activities in other regions will be on the following dates,” said Murib.

Murib further said the delegations of ULMWP and Vanuatu are going to attend the 73rd UN General Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland. So far, Vanuatu has made a resolution enforcing the rights of self-determination for West Papua to be submitted at the hearing.

“They will also mobilise support from other countries to promote self-determination for West Papua,” continued Murib.

For this reason, he appealed to all people including students, civil servants and those who are care of independence to participate in the movement. “You can do whatever you want to celebrate it. Pray, do orations, give speeches and so on.”

In Jayapura, the rally will start from different points namely Expo, Lingkaran Abe and Dok V and then the mass will gather at Perumnas 3 Waena. (*)

Reporter: Hengky Yeimo

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Papua Governor: No more conflicts in Puncak Jaya

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Illustration of Mulia City, Puncak Jaya Regency. – Jubi / Doc

Jayapura, Jubi – Papua Governor Lukas Enembe said Puncak Jaya District there should not be a stigma for Puncak Jaya District as a conflict area because it is not a killing field. In contrary, this area is safe and peaceful.

“I governed this region once, so I know what people want. For that reason, I ask the local government officials to be able to take care of the community so to avoid more conflicts,” told Enembe to reporters on Thursday (09/13/2018) at the Office of the Papuan People’s Assembly (MRP).

Furthermore, the governor said to avoid conflicts between different tribes and groups; the government officials should not also act to represent their personal or group interests.

Separately, Papua Police Deputy Chief the Brigadier General Yakoubus Marjuki said that the police always try to use a subtle approach to solve conflicts in Papua.

“This is our commitment because we want every region in Papua to always be safe and peaceful including in Puncak Jaya.” (*)

 


Reporter: Roy Ratumakin

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Arts & Culture

Jayapura presents Tanah Merah Maritime Festival in November

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The coastal indigenous dance performed at the Tanah Merah Maritime Festival last year. – Jubi / Engel Wally

Sentani, Jubi – the Local government of Jayapura District started a campaign introducing the Maritime Festival of Tanah Merah (FBTM) that will be held from 19 to 21 November 2018 in Entiyebo, Tablanusu Village, Depapre Sub-district.

FBFM, which held in 2014 for the first time, is part of the annual tourism agenda of the local government along with the Lake Sentani Festival.

The Acting Head of Culture and Tourism Office of Jayapura District Benyamin Yerisetouw said his office has campaigned about this event to some village heads and community leaders in the five coastal sub-districts within the district.

“Our target is, by 19 to 21 November, all communities can participate in this event, in particular, those from the coastal areas, as well as domestic and international tourists,” Yerisetouw explained when met in his office on Friday (9/14/2018).

Meanwhile, the Chairman of Indonesian Commerce of Chamber and Industry of Jayapura District Hengky Yoku said the economic development of the local community relies on its potential resources.

“This area has many activities which can promote the cultural history of the local community. When this comes in forms of festival or performance, there is an economic value that resulted from transactions of local community and visitors who attend the event.” (*)

 


Reporter: Engel Wally

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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