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Measles kill dozens of children in Papua, government sends military

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Illustration malnutrition among Asmat children – IST

Jakarta, Jubi – Indonesian authorities are struggling to contain a months-long outbreak of measles in easternmost Papua province that has killed dozens of children.

Stefanus Lange, a doctor at a state-run hospital in Papua’s Asmat district, said Tuesday (January 16) that cases were first detected in September, but a lack of access to remote areas, insufficient personnel and the high mobility of villagers hampered treatment and vaccination efforts.

Lange said 36 victims died in Pulau Tiga sub-district and 22 died in Agats, the main town and capital of Asmat district. He did not rule out the possibility of a higher number of victims since reports have not been received from some sub-districts.

Papua and neighboring West Papua are the poorest provinces in Indonesia and home to a decades-old independence movement and armed insurgency. The region is culturally and ethnically distinct from the rest of Indonesia, which annexed it in the early 1960s.

Data from hospitals showed a total of 568 people had been treated for measles since September and 175 required hospitalizations.

The data also showed that one child died in Pulau Tiga of malnutrition, which has plagued some villages in the district.

More than 50 doctors and paramedics from Indonesia’s military have gone to Papua province to battle a measles outbreak that has killed dozens of children. They carry food and vaccines to a remote part of the area.

The Indonesian military has sent 53 personnel including paramedics, besides medical equipment, vaccines and 11,100 packages of instant food.

Map of Asmat Regency – IST

Malnutrition and slow response

“We are handling the situation,” Health Minister Nila Moeloek told Reuters, blaming similar previous incidents on several factors.

“There is a link between the malnutrition and (catching) other diseases,” Moeloek added. “If you’re undernourished, you will get those diseases.”

The ministry said it was still trying to estimate the number of deaths but daily newspaper Kompas on Monday said at least 61 infants had died.

Many Papuans, who are predominantly Christian and a minority in the Muslim-majority country, criticise the government in Jakarta for neglecting Papua and instead being too focused on the densely-populated island of Java.

Catholic priest and rights activist John Jonga, blamed the crisis on a lack of vaccinations and a switch from more nutritious tubers to rice as a staple food.

He said he had voiced questions over Widodo’s policy of sending aid to Palestine and Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim minority, rather than to Papua at a recent seminar at the Indonesia Institute of Sciences in Jakarta, the capital.

“We are lacking health facilities,” Jonga said. “That’s why in the seminar I asked why the president was busy with Myanmar and building a hospital in Gaza. Whereas in Papua, we have problems, difficulties with drugs and medical workers.”

Head of Communication and Community Services Bureau of Health Ministry – IST

One minister denied the extent of the health crisis had taken the government by surprise.

“We have anticipated this since September 2017,” Puan Maharani, the coordinating minister for human development, told reporters.

“The location in Asmat is not easy to monitor. We have asked the health ministry to coordinate for this (health crisis) to be evaluated.”

But as reported by Aljazeera (December 17), Oscar Primadi, Head of Communication and Community Services Bureau of Health Ministry has admitted it has been too slow to respond to a health crisis in the eastern province of Papua.

“But we need to focus on how we have to deal it right now,” he said to reporter.(AP/Reuters/Aljazeera/Zely A)

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West Papua National Liberation Army: It’s an attack, not execution

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West Papua Liberation Army led by Egianus Kogoya – IST

Jayapura, Jubi – West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) finally spoke up regarding the murder accusation over them. They admitted being responsible for the shooting of people identified as the employees of PT. Istaka Karya that are building the Trans-Papua road.

“We are responsible for that. There was gunfire, and it’s an attack, not execution as stated by the Indonesian security forces,” the spokesperson of TPNPB Sebby Sambom told Jubi by phone on Wednesday (5/12/2018) denying the statement released by the Indonesian Army.
Earlier, the Chief of Cenderawasih Military Public Affairs Colonel Muhamad Aidi that the employees of PT. Istaka Karya executed in a location identified as Puncak Kabo.
Meanwhile, the West Papua National Liberation Army Commander for Region III Ndugama Egianus Kogoya continued Sambom, gave an order to his man Pemne Kogoya to attack several people in the Aworak River, Yigi River and Military Post at Mbua Sub-district.
Furthermore, he said the liberation army had been observing those who worked nearby both rivers. “They are soldiers, Indonesia Army Corps of Engineers, not civilians,” continued Sambon who’s in Papua New Guinea during the telephone.
In 2016, the Indonesian Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing contracted the Army Engineer as a working partner to build the Trans Papua Road. This agreement then followed by the decree issued by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono through Presidential Decree No.40 of 2013 which became a reference for military involvement in the construction of the Trans-Papua Road which earlier named Accelerating Development Road of Papua and West Papua (P4B).
The Army engineers deployed a total of 394 personnel that consist of Detachment-10 and Detachment-12 to work on the roads along Wamena-Habema and Habema-Mbua. Meanwhile, Battalion-18 build the roads along Mbua-Mugi and Mugi-Paro, and Battalion-14 build the roads along Paro-Kenyam and Kenyam-Mamugu. Each group has 107 personnel.
Under observation of Liberation Army
For approximately three months, the West Papua National Liberation Army has observed the workers of bridges construction at both Aworak and Yigi rivers and Mbua Military Post to examine their movement.
“Those who work along the Aworak River, Yigi River are purely soldiers of Engineers Detachment. The liberation army also knew that those who work on the trans-road and bridges construction project along the roads of Habema, Juguru, Kenyam until Batas Batu are military,” said Sambom.
Furthermore, according to him, even though these men dressed in civilian clothes or not wearing the uniform, they are still military. He also said that the liberation army is not a group of criminal as often called by the Indonesian Security Force. The West Papua National Liberation Army is fighting for the independence of West Papuan nation that aimed to liberate West Papua from Indonesia.
 “We have delivered a statement of war at the beginning of 2018,” he said.
As quoted by tirto.id, the National Police Chief General Tito Karnavian said 20 people confirmed victims of murder in Nduga Regency Papua that consist of 19 employees of PT. Istaka Karya and a soldier.
“The temporary news reported 20 [victims], said Karnavian during a press conference held at the Presidential Palace Complex, Jakarta on Wednesday (05/12/2018).
Indonesian Propaganda
In the meantime, Benny Wenda, the Chairman of ULMWP, separately told Jubi (5/12) that the news of the workers’ massacres in Nduga as part of Indonesian propaganda.
“That’s my assumption. It happened due to the broader support from the Indonesian people to Papuans and their nation that showed on the last 1 December. So, Indonesia attempted to show the Indonesian people that Papuans are brutal and able to do massacre. This incident cannot be confirmed yet, but the narrative of ‘massacre’ has widely spread through social media,” said Wenda.
According to him, throughout 2018, before the ‘massacre’ of the bridge construction workers in Yigi Sub-district and the attack on the military post of Battalion Infantry-755/Yalet, there were at least several accusations launched by the Indonesian Army, including the shooting incident at Kenyam Airport, Nduga on 25 June; confinement and sexual violation against dozens of teachers and paramedics from 3 – 17 October in Mapenduma Sub-district, Nduga Regency.  (*)
Reporter: Victor Mambor
Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Papuans’ trust towards Jokowi has diminish regarding human rights solving

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A young Papuan and his colleagues who had been arrested by Surabaya Police for celebrating West Papua independence day December 1st, Saturday (1/12/2018) – AMP facebook

 

 

Jayapura, Jubi – Chairman of the Papuan Customary Council Dominikus Surabut said that President Joko Widodo’s policy regarding cases of alleged violations of human rights in Papua raised a sceptical trust of Papuans over him.

“It added a sceptical trust among Papuans, especially the victims’ families,” Surabut told Jubi at his office on Tuesday (27/11/2018) in Waena, Jayapura City, Papua.

Moreover, he said that during his administration there were 7,000 Papuans detained by police in peaceful demonstrations. It’s the highest number in the last decade.

And this distrust increased after the appointment of General Andika Perkasa as the Indonesian Army Chief. In the past, he was a member of the military operation in Papua, but his particular tasks were not explicit.

Some media have released about the involvement of General Andika in the murder of charismatic Papuan leader Theys Hiyo Eluai on 10 November 2001 in Jayapura, Papua.

Theys is the Chairman of Papua Presidium Council (PDP), a political organisation that fights for the independence of Papua that established during the administration of President Abdurrahman Wahid and was not popular among the Indonesian Military.

Indoprogress.com said that Andika’s involvement in the murder of Theys has never thoroughly investigated. His alleged involvement in the case revealed by a letter sent by Agus Zihof, the father of a defendant Captain Inf. Rionardo. Zihow who’s a retired army sent a letter to the Former Indonesian Military Chief General Ryamizard Ryacudu.

In his letter, Zihof said that his son was forced to confess to killing Theys by a man named Major Andika Perkasa. He also revealed that Andika promised to give his son a good position in the Indonesian State Intelligent Agency because his father-in-law was an influential person there. A special investigation team formed to investigate the murder case of Theys to examine Andika Perkasa.

Furthermore, Surabut said with human rights violators from the past surround him, Jokowi would never encounter the humanitarian problem in Indonesia.

Separately, President of the Synode of Baptiste Church of Papua, Dr Sokratez Sofyan Yoman, said President Joko Widodo seems to prioritize the formal events rather than the primary development in Papua.

“There is no significant change. Jokowi performs a play” said Yoman.

Moreover, he said Papuans do not require impromptu visits, acting, or carrying children during his visits, waving and smiling.

People amazed by his charming and that he has made ten official visits to Papua. But, He’s not aware that he never touch the main problem in Papua which is respecting human dignity instead of infrastructure development.

“We don’t need money. Our dignity is priceless. Money cannot measure it,” he said.

The more important is that he respects the dignity of Papuans by stopping all forms of violence and investigating who’s behind it because of 7,000 Papuans detained by the police during his administration. (*)

Reporter: Benny Mawel

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Government should pay more attention addressing HIV-AIDS in Papua

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Ojeg driver participated in a workshop about HIV/AIDS in Enarotali, Paniai organised by YAPKEMA NGO – Jubi/Yapkema

HIV-AIDS still becomes a ‘scary ghost’ for Papua Province.

A data released by the Ministry of Health in March recorded that within 12 years (2005-2017) the number of people living with AIDS in Papua has reached 19,729. This number is the highest rate among other Indonesian provinces, while the total of AIDS cases in Indonesia is 102.667.

The second highest rate of AIDS occurred in East Java for 18,243, following by Jakarta at 9,215, Central Java at 8,170, Bali at 7,441 and West Java at 6,502. However, the data showed that Papua Province is at the third rank for the number of people living with the HIV (29,083) compared to Jakarta (51,981) and East Java (39,633). Following Papua in the fourth and fifth ranks are West Java and East Java with 28,964 and 22,292 cases respectively.

Given the fact that the number of population in Papua Province is lesser than the provinces of Jakarta, East Java and West Java, it makes Papua becoming the province with the highest case rate of AIDS in Indonesia until December 2017. The case rate is cumulative of the number of people living with, died from AIDS and the total number of HIV-AIDS cases per 1000,000 population.

The case rate for Papua Province is 620,56 which 18,149 people living with AIDS and 1,580 people died from AIDS during 1987-2017, whereas West Papua Province is in the second place; at 216,46 including 1,699 people living with AIDS and 42 died from AIDS.

The updated figure for HIV-AIDS cases per 30 September 2018 in Papua Province is 38,874. It shows that Nabire Regency has the highest HIV-AIDS cases (7,420) and it followed by Jayapura Municipality at 6,189, Jayawijaya Regency at 5,964, Mimika Regency at 5,670 and Jayapura Regency at 2,918.

Most cases occurred in Papua are due to sexual intercourse with several partners which reach 14,148 (HIV) and 23,610 (AIDS), whereas another factor is the Most cases or risk factors occurred in Papua due to sexual intercourse with several partners are 14,148 (HIV) and 23,610 (AIDS). Another factor is the transmission from mother to child that reaches 212 for HIV and 473 for AIDS.

Responding to this situation, the Chairman of AIDS Commission (KPA) of Papua Province Constant Karma told Jubi on Wednesday, 22 November 2018, that firstly people must fully understand about the transmission of HIV.

He said HIV is transmitted through blood, semen, vaginal fluids if we have direct contact with wounds on the skin or open mucous membranes of people who already infected, such as mouth, nose, vagina, rectum and penis’ external urethral.

“HIV can also be transmitted through vaginal, oral and anal sex, as well as contact with blood and other body fluids. But kissing can be safe if both partners have no sore or mouth sprue. Touching, hugging and normal interacting with people infected with HIV are also safe,” he said.

He recommends people to have safe sex by using a condom and avoiding touching blood or other people’s body fluids.

“We never know who has HIV, because there is no stereotype and perhaps people don’t realise that they are already infected. So avoid to have direct contact with blood and body fluids of other people because it might have risks for HIV transmission, especially if we have open sores on any part of our body,” he said.

Karma said that the high rate of HIV-AIDS in Papua was due to people are still reluctant to conduct examinations.

“This figure indicates that the rate of people who already entered the stage of AIDS. It becomes a problem because if they get at this stage, it will be difficult to recover their condition,” he said.

Karma also said that KPA still difficulties related to funds to reduce the number of people living with HIV-AIDS in Papua. “In the past, we have collaborated with some international NGOs but not anymore because Indonesia currently regarded as a developed country. Therefore these NGOs are paying more attention to other developing countries,” he said.

Moreover, he said KPA Papua’s funds are insufficient to cover all areas of Papua, especially the mountain areas.

AIDS prevalence has reduced since 2014

Head of the Technical Implementation Unit for AIDS, TB and Malaria, Papua Health Office, dr. Beery Wopari, said that since 2014 HIV and AIDS cases in Papua had decreased, although not too significant.

“In 2014 there were 4,452 new cases found in 29 regencies and municipality, but until 2018 there were 1,993 new cases detected or found,” he said.  It means that most people are willing to conduct health examinations or do early detection of the disease, explained Wopari.

“Although it is undeniable that many people are still reluctant to conduct medical checks,” he said.

Wopari hopes that the elimination process carried out by Nabire Regency which has the highest HIV-AIDS rate can be emulated by other districts in Papua Province. Nabire District Health Office has carried out medical checks for people who come for treatment at the community centres.

“The number of people living with HIV and AIDS in Nabire is currently growing. There is a regulation that requires all community centres in Nabire to carry out the preliminary tests to all patients who come for treatment to reduce it. “It is good so that we can treat people who have been infected with HIV before the patient enters the stage of AIDS,” he said. (*)

Reporter: Roy Ratumakin

Editor: Pipit Maizier 

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