The Jakarta Post
Health Minister Nila Farid Moeloek has said that her ministry has sent a team to Papua to investigate the deaths of 31 children since October in the country's easternmost province.
The team was sent to Nduga regency to identify the cause of death of the children aged 2 and under, tempo.co reported. 'From what I heard, the children had suffered from high fevers, convulsions and diarrhea before they died. But such information still lacks accuracy,' Nila said at her office in Jakarta on Friday.
To reach the location, according to the minister, members of team had to pass through difficult terrain, including a six to seven-hour journey on foot. The majority of the team are epidemiological experts.
Meanwhile, director general for disease control and healthy environment Muhammad Subuh said that it was difficult to determine the possible cause of deaths.
He said that besides children, there were also many livestock that died in Nduga regency, which the Agriculture Ministry was also investigating.
He, however, said that Malaria was very likely to be the children's cause of death as Papua was the province with the highest incidence of malaria. Other provinces with a high incidence of malaria are Papua, Maluku, North Maluku, East Nusa Tenggara and West Papua.
Other possible causes of the death are meningitis and bronchitis, according to Muhammad. (bbn)
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