Akmal Taher has stepped down from his position as head of the health division of the national COVID-19 task force, citing what he said were the task force’s insufficient efforts to address the COVID-19 crisis.
He submitted his resignation letter to COVID-19 task force chair Doni Monardo on Thursday evening.
“Yes, I delivered the letter [on Thursday] night, but I had already talked about my plans to resign,” he said, as quoted by tempo.co on Friday.
Akmal, a urologist and a professor at the University of Indonesia’s Faculty of Medicine, said the key to successfully handling the pandemic was rigorous testing, tracing and treatment.
However, he said testing and contact-tracing measures had not been optimally implemented, particularly in the effort to reduce the COVID-19 death rate in nine provinces – a task that President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo recent gave to Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Panjaitan.
"I think I can fulfill my role carrying out the measures I believe in – namely testing, tracing and treatment – in another place," Akmal said.
In addition to the health division, the COVID-19 task force consists of a behavioral changes division, a technology and information division and a public communication division.
Jokowi established the task force in July under the Committee for COVID-19 Handling and National Economic Recovery. (aly)