The Indonesian Doctors Association (IDI) has called on the government to increase healthcare capacities in regions outside Jakarta.
IDI chair Daeng M. Faqih said that if the country could not stop the transmission of the coronavirus, the number of COVID-19 patients might overwhelm the healthcare system.
In Indonesia, data shows that COVID-19 positive cases have been increasing by about 100 a day but concerns over slow testing procedures may suggest there are more cases than that recorded.
“It is not too late,” Daeng said over the weekend as reported by tempo.co.
He was responding to research conducted by Katadata Insight Center, which revealed that neighboring provinces of the capital city, namely West Java and Banten, had insufficient healthcare facilities.
The research showed that although Jakarta remained a COVID-19 epicenter, having recorded the highest number of cases in the country with 1,124, half of the nation’s cases—its healthcare facilities were more adequate than other regions. The research also pointed out provinces that were not prone to the novel coronavirus such as West Sulawesi, Central Kalimantan and East Nusa Tenggara, but they too were dealing with inadequate healthcare facilities.
Daeng said the government should use the research as a basis to formulate a policy for regional administrations to reduce the susceptibility of transmissions in Jakarta and increase the healthcare capacities of other regions. “Both need to be done promptly,” he said.
He added that the central government should also make a clear policy for regional administrations on how to increase their medical capacities, such as by allocating more funds, as some regions still relied on the state budget for 80 percent of their regional income.
He also urged the government to be more firm in enforcing large-scale social restrictions and to not rely on people’s willingness to adhere to them.
In a recent meeting with the House of Representatives, Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto said the shortage of protective gear and medical workers to administer tests and provide treatment for the disease were impeding the country's efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Our first obstacle [in fighting COVID-19] is obtaining a sufficient number of personal protective equipment, such as hazmat suits and surgical masks. The entire world is experiencing high demand for such equipment,” Terawan said on Thursday, adding that the shortage had also hindered authorities from administering rigorous testing programs to detect the disease earlier and more accurately. (mfp)