The Jakarta Post
A 1-and-a-half-year-old baby girl in Palembang has passed away in an accident believed to have been caused by an acute respiratory infection (ISPA) brought about by prolonged haze. It is estimated that six children have now died because of the suffocating smoke that has engulfed Sumatra and other parts of the country.
The baby, Fadilah Rahma, died on Tuesday after being treated for 15 days at the Siti Khodijah and Mohammad Hoesin hospitals in the capital city of South Sumatra.
'The doctor said that [my daughter died because of the] haze. The X-ray results showed that my daughter suffered from an ISPA. There have been no other health problems since she was born,' the baby's mother, Ria Susanti, said on Wednesday.
Tribunnews.com reported that the baby was a resident of a low-cost apartment complex in the city. She was buried in the Sekuning public cemetery in Palembang.
Separately, a spokesperson from Siti Khodijah hospital, Nala Rosmini, confirmed that Fadilah had been treated at the hospital from Oct. 8 to Oct. 16. The baby was then transferred to the Mohammad Hoesin hospital for further intensive treatment.
'But for now, we cannot give any further statement [on the disease],' Nala said.
Besides Fadilah, it is believed that another baby from Palembang has also died because of the prolonged haze in the province, often thought to be among the provinces most affected by haze because of its sizable land and forest fires.
The 28-day-old baby passed away on Oct. 3 at Muhammadiyah hospital after suffering from an ISPA. The baby was the child of Hendra Saputra and Mursida, a couple from Baten Seberang Ulu, Palembang.
According to the data from the Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI), at least five children have died because of haze-related illnesses in Sumatra and Kalimantan as of October.
Besides the deaths, KPAI reported that 19 babies had received intensive treatment in Sumatran hospitals after suffering from an ISPA.
With the death of Fadilah, at least 11 people, including the babies, have passed away from across the country due to the prolonged haze.
The government has called on hospitals to pay more attention to people in distress, particularly babies, children, pregnant women and asthma sufferers who were more susceptible to haze-related health problems.
Hundreds of thousands of residents have suffered from haze-related illnesses.
In an effort to show his seriousness in dealing with the haze crisis, President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo cut short his trip to the US and flew directly to Palembang.
After holding a meeting to discuss mitigation efforts with a number of ministers on Thursday in Ogan Komering Ilir regency ' the temporary base of his administration ' Jokowi paid a visit to a community health center (Puskesmas) and a shelter at the Kayuagung General Hospital to inspect the services there.
According to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), the ongoing haze crisis had caused more than 500,000 people in six provinces ' Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra, West Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan and South Kalimantan ' to suffer from an ISPA.
Earlier in October, the Health Ministry revealed that in addition to four fatalities, 45,666 people in the Riau Islands suffered from illnesses. Furthermore, 69,734 Jambi residents are believed to have suffered illnesses related to the haze in addition to one fatality. Meanwhile in South Sumatra, 83,276 residents have suffered from illnesses and have two people died.
Over the past few months, Indonesia has struggled to minimize the impact of air pollution originating from fires on plantations in Sumatra and Kalimantan.
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