Health worker association protests lack of involvement in corona epidemic

CNN Indonesia – August 1, 2020
Health workers dons protective clothing – Undated (Antara)

Jakarta, CNN Indonesia – The Indonesian Public Health Experts Association (IAKMI) has criticised the government for failing to involve professional healthcare organisations in dealing with the corona virus (Covid-19) pandemic.

IAKMI Chairperson Dedi Supratman said that the now defunct Covid-19 Task Force (Gugus Tugas) as well as the national Economic Recovery Task Force (Satgas) have only involved the Indonesian Medical Association (IDI) in formulating programs and policies, but rarely invite them to meetings.

Supratman said this is despite the fact that professional healthcare organisations have extensive networks around the country and can assist in programs to deal with Covid-19, in particular with prevention.

“Even the association of pharmacists, for example, weren’t involved in the Gugus Tugas. There are several that are part of the IDI and others, but even they are very rarely asked to join meetings. This is actually what we’re concerned about”, said Supratman in a web seminar held by the University of Indonesia Alumni Association on Saturday August 1.

Supratman said that in the end healthcare professionals and associations have created their own movement taking advantage of a network and membership which is spread across the country.

Such as the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) which is conducting its own activities such as education, mitigation and spraying disinfectant. The IAKMI and several other organisations meanwhile have formed the Healthcare Professionals and Associations Social Coalition (KoMPAK).

“This is actually an asset which could have been taken advantage of by the Gugus Tugas and the Health Department, however I don’t know what the problem was so that healthcare [professionals] themselves are not compact or solid”, he said.

Supratman said he has sent a letter to President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo asking that he hold an audience with healthcare professionals and organisations. According to Supratman, professional organisations want to be involved because they want to assist the government in dealing with the corona virus pandemic.

“We can see that the situation is becoming progressively worse. Hopefully the Pak [Mr] President will open the door to be able to hold an audience with us in healthcare circles”, he said.

Moreover, Supratman also highlighted the minimal budget for incentives for healthcare workers who are on the front line in the campaign to contain the spread of Covid-19.

According to Supratman, so far incentives have only been provided to medical workers at hospitals and are dealing with Covid-19 patients.

Even under Presidential Regulation (Perpres) Number 82/2020 on the Formation of the of Covid-19 Handling and National Economic Recover Committee the government does not address in any way incentives for community healthcare workers.

“[Although] the recent Perpres addresses budget issues, only one article touches on the issue of financing”, he said.

As of Friday July 31, the number of cumulative cases of corona virus in Indonesia reached 108,376. Out of this 65,907 have recovered and 5,131 have died. (hrf/fra)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “IAKMI Protes Satgas Covid dan Kemenkes soal Tangani Corona”.]