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.
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)
West Papua National Liberation Army: It’s an attack, not execution
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.
Papuans’ trust towards Jokowi has diminish regarding human rights solving
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
Government should pay more attention addressing HIV-AIDS in Papua
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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