Jakarta – Scores of workers held a protest action in front of the Health Ministry offices in Kuningan, South Jakarta, on Friday October 28. They began the demonstration at 10.30 am by giving speeches.
The demonstrators articulated five demands. First, the workers asked the government to fully investigate the death of 157 children who have died of progressive atypical acute kidney injury (GGAPA) in Indonesia.
Second, they also urged Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin and Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM) head Penny K. Lukito to resign. If not, the government must remove them from their posts.
"We ask for decisiveness from the government, today also to dishonorably dismiss the heads of the Health Ministry and the BPOM", said National Trade Union (SNP) Secretariat representative Buya on Friday.
Third, the workers called for an investigation into the pharmaceutical industry which is suspected of being the cause of the GGAPA in children.
Forth, they asked to government to form a national fact finding team, and fifth they asked for the GGAPA deaths to be declared as an extra-ordinary event (KLB).
"This is something that we cannot ignore. The death of hundreds of children because of a medicine, there has defiantly been negligence [in this case]", said Buya.
The police meanwhile deployed some 184 personnel to safeguard the rally. "There were 184 personnel (that were deployed)", said Setiabudi Metro sectoral police chief Police Commander Agung Permana when contacted.
Based on the notification of the rally submitted with the police, said Permana, around 200 people were expected to join the demonstration. "But those who attended weren’t as many as 200, it's taking place now", said Permana.
Permana said that no roads had been closed off or traffic redirected as a result of the demonstration. "One lane remains as usual, there were no closures or traffic rerouted", he said.
As of October 26, the Health Ministry has recorded a total of 269 cases of acute kidney injury spread across 27 provinces. As many as 157 patients have died. (khr/bmw)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Buruh Demo Tuntut Menkes-Kepala BPOM Dicopot Imbas Kasus Ginjal Akut".]