The Jakarta Post
Ten villagers have died from diarrhea between Jan. 25 and the first week of February because of a lack of health facilities and unhealthy lifestyles, according to the Tanimbar Island Health Agency in Maluku.
The agency’s head, Edwin Tomasoa said the findings were based on reports from a number of community health centers (Puskesmas) in Tanimbar Island regency.
The 10 people came from seven villages, according to reports from four community health centers in various districts.
Puskemas Saumlaki reported the death of five villagers, three in Lermatang village, one in Wesawak and one in Bomaki.
Meanwhile, Puskesmas Lorulun reported two deaths, namely in Atubul DA village and Arui Bab. Puskesmas Seira reported one death in Wermatang, while Puskesmas Adodo Molu reported the death of two residents of Nerkat village.
Edwin went on to say that the deaths were believed to have been caused by a lack of access to a Puskesmas in the district. In some cases, diarrhea likely worsened the condition of villagers already suffering from other health problems, including lung disease, he added.
Another cause of diarrhea, he added, was that many residents did not have access to toilets and their habit of defecating in the open made them prone to diseases.
“We are handling it. Health workers were immediately deployed to villages that do not have health centers to give villagers a medical checkup,” Edwin said.
The health workers treated villagers for diarrhea and also congenital diseases while disseminating information on how to live a healthier, more hygienic lifestyle.
“So, it’s not just about treatments. A healthy lifestyle is also necessary to fight diarrhea,” Edwin said, adding that he had advised the villagers to get used to washing their hands with soap and wearing masks.
Separately, Maluku Health Agency secretary Adonia Rerung regretted the late response of the Tanimbar Island Health Agency, saying that it should have immediately reported the case to the provincial agency.
“I have reprimanded the [Tanimbar Island Health] Agency and told [officials] to immediately submit a report about the situation," Adonia said, adding that he had also instructed the agency collect data on villagers that were still suffering from diarrhea. (syk)