National

Health Ministry cleans
up wet markets, considered
breeding ground for disease

In close cooperation with the Trade Ministry, the Health Ministry is making efforts to improve sanitation in traditional wet markets under the “Pasar Sehat” (healthy wet market) initiative.

Under the program, eight new wet markets have been opened, which cost the Health Ministry Rp 994 million (US$ 105,364).

Wilfried H. Purba, the Health Ministry’s director for environmental health at the Disease Control and Environmental Health Directorate General (P2PL), said that the program was aimed at bringing a clean environment for people to do business in traditional markets. “Traditional markets play roles in the spreading of hygiene-related health problems, including bird flu,” he said.

Under the program, each traditional market receives Rp 45 million.

Some of the wet markets targeted in the program include one in Samosir, North Sumatra, and another in Sikka, East Nusa Tenggara.

“It’s not a lot of money, but enough to fix the plumbing, sewer and waste treatment facilities,” said Wilfried.

The Health Ministry has increased the budget for the program to Rp 1.5 billion for 2013.

In 2011, 10 traditional markets were selected for the European Union (EU)-funded project for Implementation of the National Strategic Plan for Preventing Avian Influenza (INSPAI). From 2009-2011 the Health Ministry undertook under cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO).

A survey from the Trade Ministry between 2011 and 2012 found that the country has 9,559 traditional markets. A 2011 study commissioned by the Industry Ministry said that there are 7,886 traditional
markets nationwide.

The Trade Ministry survey found that 95 percent of the traditional marketplaces were damaged as they are more than 25 years old.

The survey also said that 7.2 million vendors occupied spaces in the traditional markets. Data from the Indonesian Association of Market Vendors (Asparindo) however said 12.6 million vendors were working in the traditional markets.

The healthy market program kicked off in 2005 when the Health Ministry started working on the National Strategic Plan for Influenza Control and Pandemic Influenza Preparedness 2006-2008 developed by the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas).

The program was designed as a response to the first human bird flu case in Indonesia.

“As one of the measures in the strategic plan we had to design an intervention program on traditional markets, as most culling of fowls happened there and this could be the breeding ground of the avian influenza virus,” he said.

Traditional wet markets are also prone to hygiene-related diseases such as diarrhea, upper respiratory tract infection (ISPA), tuberculosis, typhoid, leptospirosis and dengue.

The program was also designed to train vendors in healthy food handling practices. Under the program, market zoning was enacted so that fowl vendors should open their businesses separate from vendors of other food products such as vegetables and other condiments.

In collaboration with the Trade Ministry, the program developed the so-called “model market”. In 2011, there were 10 traditional markets selected.

Muh. Anwar Achmad, the Trade Ministry’s head of logistic management, said the government planned to start a project for more traditional markets in 53 regencies, including the opening of 20 model markets.

“We will spend Rp 400 billion this year for revitalizing the traditional markets,” he said.

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