The Jakarta Post
Eka Mulyana, a member of the mitigation team for the Indonesian Medical Association (IDI), has said the association has recorded a growing number of COVID-19 fatalities among healthcare workers over the last since months since the pandemic began.
As of Sunday, the IDI has seen a total of 253 lives of healthcare workers taken by the coronavirus.
"In more than six month since the pandemic started, the number of deaths among health workers keeps increasing and is becoming more concerning," Eka said in a statement on Sunday as reported by tribunnews.com.
The deceased health workers consisted of 141 doctors, nine dentists and 103 nurses.
"Fifty three of the doctors were general physicians, 64 were specialists and 18 were residents from 18 provinces and 66 cities or regencies all across the country," Eka explained.
East Java has reported 35 doctor fatalities, more than any other province, followed by North Sumatra with 23 deaths, Jakarta with 20 deaths, West Java with 11 deaths, Central Java with 10 deaths, South Sulawesi with six deaths, Bali with five deaths, and South Sumatra, South Kalimantan, Aceh, and Riau with four deaths each.
East Kalimantan and Banten each reported the death of three doctors, Riau Islands, Yogyakarta, West Nusa Tenggara and North Sulawesi each reported two deaths, and Papua reported one death.
“No country, hospital or health clinic can guarantee the safety of its patients unless their healthcare workers are fully protected from the risk of COVID-19 transmission [...]
"Besides, we could never replace the loss of health workers in such a short amount of time," he said.
The IDI also saw an increase of violence against health workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Eka, besides physical violence, health workers also reported verbal harassment and discrimination.
Eka emphasized the pivotal role of health workers in handling the COVID-19 pandemic and urged the government, regional administrations, private sector, regional leaders and stakeholders to take an active role in protecting health workers.
"The protection and safety of health workers is a must to face the COVID-19 pandemic," she said.
In the meantime, Coordinating Human Development and Culture Minister Muhadjir Effendy said, apart from COVID-19, an unbalanced distribution of doctors and healthcare workers was among the main challenges faced by the country’s health development.
He said at least 62 remote regencies faced a shortage of medical professionals.
“I hope we can immediately overcome the problem in order to boost the country’s health development,” Muhadjir said on Sunday as quoted by kompas.com.
Previously, the IDI had called for comprehensive cooperation of both the government and the public in implementing health protocols, so that medical personnel and health workers could continue their work without putting their lives on the line.
“Not just the public, but we, too, want this pandemic to pass quickly. This situation will never be resolved if there is no full cooperation from the community as the front guard," IDI mitigation team deputy head Ari Kusuma Januarto said on Oct. 15. (nal)
Editor’s note: This article is part of a public campaign by the COVID-19 task force to raise people’s awareness about the pandemic.