The Indonesian Medical Association (IDI) has warned health workers nationwide to remain cautious with regard to the surge in COVID-19 transmission in the nation, as the number of fatalities among medical staff kept increasing.
As of Dec. 24 evening, the association recorded 223 doctors who have died of COVID-19. Meanwhile, Indonesian volunteer group LaporCOVID-19 reported 464 fatalities among health workers over the same period.
IDI mitigation team leader Adib Khumaidi said the number of health workers who had died of COVID-19 was high due to the lack of protection for them while treating infected patients. Ironically, the situation was exacerbated by a lack of access for them to get a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.
“We often find these problems in the field. We don’t want to lose more doctors and nurses in the future,” Adib said in a virtual event held by LaporCOVID-19 on Dec. 24.
He also stated that all parties needed to collaborate with each other to fight COVID. Adib explained that almost 70 percent of doctors in East Java were financially affected by the pandemic due to the lack of patients.
The Indonesian Nurses Association’s (PPNI) COVID-19 task force leader, Sri Suhardiningsih, said the number of nurses killed by COVID-19 nationwide had reached 159 and 51 of them were from East Java. Meanwhile, the association recorded 4,294 nurses who had tested positive for COVID-19 and were under treatment.
Sri claimed that she felt devastated, because the number of nurses who tested positive exceeded the number of available ICU and isolation rooms at hospitals, which was why they failing to receive proper treatment.
“In Ngawi, for example, they couldn’t be admitted to a referral hospital, since the ICU and rooms in hospitals are full,” Sri said.
She further said nurses were the most prone to COVID-19 infection, since they had to spend 24 hours with patients. Furthermore, the nurses were tasked with many difficult assignments, ranging from feeding the patients to administering drugs.
Similar sentiment was echoed by Indonesian Midwife Association (IBI) chairman Emi Nurjasmi, who said midwives were vulnerable to the pandemic.
As of Dec. 21, 49 midwives had died of COVID-19, while 3,192 had tested positive for the disease, she explained, adding that midwives working at community health centers or private clinics were at a particularly high risk of contagion.
“Protective gear for midwives in those places is limited to the point that they have to pay for their own gear. The lack of protective gear leaves our midwives more vulnerable to COVID-19,” Emi said. (apg/dpk)
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.