The Jakarta Post
The Indonesian Hospital Association (PERSI) has expressed dismay over the government’s suggestion that some health facilities across the country had used COVID-19 diagnoses for profit, noting that it would only further erode public trust in the country’s healthcare system amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
PERSI chairman Kuntjoro Adi Purjanto said such a statement could only serve to stigmatize health workers’ sincere efforts to treat coronavirus patients and prevent further deaths as the pandemic continues unabated.
“[The claim] could massively influence public trust in hospitals and betray health workers’ unwavering dedication,” he said in a written statement issued on Sunday, as quoted by kompas.com.
Furthermore, the bold claim, as it was not supported by any data or evidence, could help create a misleading narrative that cast hospitals in an unfavorable light, he added.
Instead of making tone-deaf statements, Kuntjoro encouraged the government to make constructive criticism and to bolster its support of hospitals.
“PERSI […] is open to collaboration with other stakeholders to improve the healthcare system, including COVID-19 treatment,” he said.
The controversial claim was made by Presidential Chief of Staff Moeldoko following a meeting with Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo in Semarang on Thursday.
Moeldoko conveyed his skepticism regarding the number of fatalities declared to have been caused by or linked to the coronavirus disease, claiming that a “redefinition” should be in order to avoid loopholes that could be exploited to the benefit of certain parties.
“Not all deaths are caused by COVID-19,” he said. “This needs to be clarified. Don’t let this benefit those who seek profit from the [medical] definition.”
Ganjar supported Moeldoko’s claim, saying that false COVID-19 diagnoses had been made in Central Java.
“Such a thing has happened in Central Java. There were people diagnosed for COVID-19 and then died before their test results came back,” he said.
“It turned out that their test results came back negative. It was unfortunate, […] we need to address this issue.” (rfa)