Indonesia: Dengue emergency declared in some regions

Tama Salim and Syofiardi Bachyul Jb, The Jakarta Post 7 Feb 16;

The Health Ministry has stepped up efforts to mitigate the outbreak of dengue fever, which has in some provinces prompted local authorities to declare an emergency.

Health Ministry spokesman Oscar Primadi said the ministry had dispatched technical teams to regions across the country for epidemiology studies and to conduct preventive measures, including fogging to exterminate the Aedes mosquito responsible for the vector-borne disease.

“For early detection, the Health Ministry has sent rapid diagnostic tests [to the regions]. Logistical support will be provided by the central government to provincial administrations based on demand, as several regions already have their own equipment,” he said on Saturday.

Data from the ministry’s directorate of contagious vector-borne and zoonotic diseases shows the fever has claimed 25 lives out of the 492 people who contracted the disease throughout January.

The ministry said 11 regencies and municipalities in seven provinces had declared dengue outbreak “extraordinary occurrences”.

The regencies and municipalities are Tangerang in Banten; Lubuklinggau, South Sumatra; Bengkulu; Denpasar and Gianyar in Bali; Bulukumba, Pangkep, North Luwu and Wajo in South Sulawesi; Gorontalo; and Kaimana in West Papua.

“Several locations with extraordinary occurrences, such as Kaimana, have already asked for additional rapid diagnostic tests to hasten early detection. Right now, there are no more dengue hemorrhagic fever cases in Kaimana,” Oscar said.

However, Oscar said in some places, like Banten, dengue continued to occur, and the ministry would keep distributing vector-control equipment along with the technical team.

Meanwhile, the head of the blood transfusion unit at the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) in Padang, Widiarman, said on Friday there was an extreme shortage of blood supply, which could complicate efforts to tackle dengue. “We are asking for donors or relatives to overcome the deficiency,” he told The Jakarta Post.

The West Sumatra Health Agency has stated that 150 of the 700 cases of dengue in the province had occurred in Padang. Four fatalities were recorded in Padang and one in Bukittinggi.

Separately, Hanny Moniaga of the Indonesian Diaspora Global Network Health (IDGNH) said the government had not been effective in its dengue mitigation efforts as it continued to rely on a singular approach.

Hanny said the government needed to look beyond the scope of health in mitigation efforts and treatment. “The problem has always been the same, and dengue fever should not be considered an issue that only officials from the Health Ministry can deal with,” Hanny told the Post on Saturday.

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