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Jakarta Post

COVID-19 task force, Health Ministry team up for tracing program in 10 provinces

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, November 3, 2020   /   04:41 pm
COVID-19 task force, Health Ministry team up for tracing program in 10 provinces Virus tracing: A health worker takes a sample from a journalist during a swab test at the Press Council building in Jakarta. (JP/Dhoni Setiawan)

In an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19, the National COVID-19 task force and the Health Ministry have teamed up for a strengthened tracing program in 10 priority provinces, namely Aceh, North Sumatra, Jakarta, West Java, Central Java, East Java, Bali, South Kalimantan, South Sulawesi and Papua.

The program aims to add more contact tracers in community health centers (Puskesmas) and data officers to carry out simple epidemiological analyses in 51 cities and regencies in those 10 provinces.

The task force’s health management head Alexander K. Ginting said during the program launch that they were targeting 1,612 Puskemas and seeking to add 8,060 contact tracers across the archipelago.

The program is seeking to assist the cities and regencies in detecting more than 80 percent of close contacts from confirmed COVID-19 cases within 72 hours and monitoring the close contacts for 14 days from contact with an infected person.

Read also: COVID-19 volunteer team needs public health graduates for tracing: Coordinator

Muhammad Budi Hidayat, acting general director of disease prevention and control at the Health Ministry said on Tuesday that the program would feature open recruitment for contact tracing volunteers and data managers in the 51 cities and regencies.

Budi mentioned that they had to improve the contact tracer skill sets and competencies in the field particularly in using integrated tracking applications, stigma management, risk communication and independent isolation assistance.

Meanwhile, Vensya Sitohang, the ministry’s surveillance and health quarantine director, stressed the importance of having more contact tracers due to the high daily confirmed cases.

Targeted testing and tracing form a large part of the government’s efforts to slow down the spread of the coronavirus.

COVID-19 volunteer coordinator Andre Rahadian invited public health graduates to join his team to help the country fight the coronavirus.

Andre said in a statement recently that the required public health graduates would be deployed as contact tracing volunteers.  He went on to say that the COVID-19 volunteer team so far comprised 32,000 people, with 6,500 of them ready to be stationed in Puskemas across the country.

According to Andre, Indonesia has at least 1,800 Puskesmas, with each center needing a total of five officers, consisting of three public servants and two volunteers doing tracing.

Health graduates who would like to join the tracing team and who live in the priority regencies may contact their local health agency or register via bit.ly/RekrutmenVolunterContactTracing.

The contact tracer volunteers will receive training from the Health Ministry and the National COVID-19 task force in using the tracing app silacak.kemkes.go.id. (jes)

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.