The Jakarta Post
Magnificent views of Raja Ampat in West Papua. According to the Health Ministry's data, malaria is still highly endemic in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), Maluku, North Maluku, West Papua and Papua provinces. (Shutterstock.com/File)
The Health Ministry has warned the public, especially tourists traveling to the Eastern part of Indonesia, to be cautious about malaria infection in the region.
According to the ministry's data, malaria is still highly endemic in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), Maluku, North Maluku, West Papua and Papua provinces.
The ministry’s director of vector and zoonotic infection disease prevention and control, Vensya Sitohang, said that tourists, especially backpackers, should anticipate and take necessary measurements against the disease. "Avoid going outdoors at night since the anopheles mosquito is more active during that time. If you must travel after dark, apply [mosquito repellent] lotion; and install a mosquito net for when you are sleeping," she said as quoted by Antara news agency.
For those already bitten, Vensya advised travelers to immediately visit health services and conduct laboratory checks for malaria.
Tourists are also encouraged to take precautions by taking antimalarial medications prior to their trip, which are available for free in health facilities like Puskesmas (community health centers) and hospitals.
NTT and West Papua are currently among the country's most popular travel destinations with highlights including Raja Ampat and Labuan Bajo. (mas/kes)