The Jakarta Post
A number of referral hospitals for COVID-19 in West Java have complained of a lack of protective gear for medical personnel who handle patients suspected of having been infected by the virus.
Eight out of 52 hospitals in the province have been appointed as referral hospitals for COVID-19 patients, including Hasan Sadikin Hospital in Bandung – considered the largest hospital in the province – and Dr. Slamet Hospital in Garut.
However, the hospital in Garut lacks sufficient protective gear for its medical personnel, forcing them to refer a man suspected to have COVID-19 to Hasan Sadikin Hospital on Monday. The patient, a 42-year-old man who recently traveled to Macau, China, was the 11th suspected COVID-19 patient in West Java.
West Java Health Agency head Berli Hamdani Gelung Sakti said the medical team at Dr. Slamet Hospital had to transfer the patient because of a lack of protective gear, although the hospital had an adequate isolation room and other medical equipment.
The agency responded last Friday by requesting the Health Ministry send the needed equipment.
"The Health Ministry responded by saying it was ready to supply all the necessary protective gear requested by the referral hospitals," Berli told The Jakarta Post on Monday.
According to the health agency, a suspected COVID-19 patient can be attended to in a hospital’s isolation ward by at least 20 medical personnel and doctors every day. Each personnel must wear a complete set of protective gear, consisting of three layers of clothing, two layers of gloves, a cap, a face mask, goggles and special shoes that can cost about Rp 200,000 (US$14) to Rp 300,000.
“The supply of masks and other protective gear is being depleted. It is harder to find them now even though they are manufactured by an Indonesian factory. Procuring them has become a struggle,” Berli said.
Some of the referral hospitals are also hindered in tending to suspected COVID-19 patients because of problems surrounding their isolation wards.
Berli explained that Hasan Sadikin Hospital had six isolation wards, but one of them is currently under renovation. "Some hospitals also report broken medical equipment.”
Each isolation ward in a hospital would have from 20 to 30 beds, while the intensive care unit (ICU) room would hold six to nine beds, according to the health agency.
“We are still calculating whether we have sufficient equipment [to handle COVID-19 cases],” Berli said.
The agency head said he hoped the ministry could send protective gears soon to COVID-19 referral hospitals across the province because the isolation room in Hasan Sadikin Hospital was full.
"[If the protective gear is available], patients could be treated in referral hospitals closest to their homes rather than being transferred to [Hasan Sadikin Hospital] in Bandung,” Berli said.
As of Monday, the provincial health agency had observed 533 people for COVID-19, 216 of whom tested negative for the virus. There are also 49 suspected patients who have been treated in isolation rooms of referral hospitals, 22 of whom had been discharged. (nal)