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Jakarta Post

Diphtheria: Can we beat back the outbreak?

  • Fadjar Wibowo
    Fadjar Wibowo

    Outreach and partnership coordinator at the Center for Indonesia’s Strategic Development Initiatives (CISDI)

Jakarta   /   Wed, January 3, 2018   /  08:22 am
Diphtheria: Can we beat back the outbreak? Stay healthy: A baby cries as a health worker administers an antidiphtheria vaccine at a clinic in Cibinong, Bogor regency, West Java, on Dec.5. (Antara/Yulius Satria Wijaya)

With 593 infections and 32 fatalities reported in 20 provinces since early November, the Health Ministry has declared that the country is in the midst of a diphtheria outbreak. It was found that 66 percent of those affected had not been vaccinated against diphtheria, while another 31 percent had only been partially vaccinated over the course of their life. In 2010, the government classified diphtheria as one of 17 communicable diseases with high probability of an outbreak. Thus, the outbreak should not have come as a surprise to authorities. Yet, the outbreak affects not only areas with restricted resources, like isolated islands or rural regions, where people have limited access to the diphtheriapertussis-tetanus (DPT) vaccination, but also urban settings like Jakarta, with Java being the most affected island. As a response, the government is carrying out a free vaccination pro...

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.