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Jakarta Post

Remote regions feel weight of COVID-19

  • Ardila Syakriah

    Jakarta

Jakarta   /   Mon, October 26 2020   /  01:00 am
Doctor Laili Candrawati's team rides on a motorized tricycle to distribute COVID-19 information to villagers in the Hibala subdistrict of South Nias regency in North Sumatra. Medical workers in the region provide COVID-19 otherwise unavailable due to lacking access to electricity, television and the internet.(Courtesy of/ Laili Candrawasti)

In May, two months after Indonesia reported its first COVID-19 cases in Greater Jakarta, more than 1000 kilometers away, a doctor was tending to an unconscious 50-year-old woman with a swollen belly. Her skin and eyes were turning yellow due to liver failure. The doctor, 27-year-old Doni Trinanda, suggested that the family refer the woman to a hospital in Toraja, some seven hours away by car -- or even up to a day -- from their remote subdistrict of Pana in Mamasa regency, West Sulawesi. But COVID-19 fears loomed over the family. They decided to sign an informed consent document allowing Doni to act on the patient with all its consequences, a common practice among Indonesian general practitioners in remote areas, given the limited resources. The woman’s condition improved for a while following the treatment at a community health center (Puskesmas). She could joke and laugh...