Indonesia faces a significant lack of hospital beds, medical staff and intensive care facilities in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak.
As of 25 March 2020 based on data released on the Jakarta Governor website, the total number of COVID-19 infections in Indonesia reached 790, with 58 deaths as the highest death toll in Southeast Asia.
“We have lost control, it has already spread everywhere,” Mr Ascobat Gani, a public health economist told Reuters. “Maybe we will follow Wuhan or Italy. I think we are in the range of that.”
The continuous rise of the COVID-19 in Indonesia could bring as many as 34,000 cases, that is more than Iran. A study by the London-based Centre for Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases released on Monday (23 March) that only 2 percent of Indonesian’s COVID-19 have been reported.
On the other side, the government spokesman in the field of corona case, Mr Achmad Yurianto, said “We won’t be like that (referring to comparisons with outbreaks in Italy and China), What’s important is that we rally the people … they have to keep their distance.”
A lack of medical and protective equipment
According to Indonesia’s Ministry of Health, the country has 321,544 hospital beds to cover a population of 260 million people. This means approximately 12 beds per 10,000 people.
Based on the World Health organization (WHO) assessment of health systems of countries infected by the COVID-19, South Korea boasts 115 hospital beds per 10,000 people.
WHO also found that Indonesia has only four doctors per 10,000 people, compared to Italy having 10 times more on a per capita basis and South Korea having six times more doctors.
The Indonesian government emphasized social distancing measures as the only way to counter the COVID-19 outbreak. Therefore, those things were not needed.
In fact, the hospitals are not ready to counter the cases, and the treatments are limited. A lot of health staff had to wear a raincoat due to a lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in hospitals where they treated the COVID-19 patients.
An epidemiologist from the University of Indonesia, Mr Budi Waryanto said, “The hospitals are not ready to support the potential cases. Treatment will be limited.”
Based on Indonesian Doctors Association, it was reported there have been eight doctors and one nurse who have died due to COVID-19.
In addition, there is also alack of mask availability with staff at hospitals having to bring their own masks. One of the doctors said to Reuters, “We bring our own masks, our own suits that may not be of standard quality.”
At a press conference on Wednesday (25 March) in Jakarta, Deputy Operations Assistant Commander of the Armed Forces, Mr Marsma Jorry S Koloay said that 170,000 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) had been distributed to all regions in Indonesia for handling Covid-19 cases. DKI Jakarta has the most PPE assistance.
On top of everything else,experts are also worried about the lack of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds. In line with that, a new emergency hospital has been opened in Jakarta with an eventual capacity to treat up to 24,000 patients.
The Indonesian health system is so decentralized that it is difficult for the central government to coordinate its response across the country with around 19,000 islands spanning 5,100 km.