4 ways Indonesia’s new Health minister is going to fight COVID-19

21-Jan-2021 Intellasia | Mashable | 6:02 AM Print This Post

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the world bad. And it’s hit some places harder than others.

In Southeast Asia for instance, no where is this more apparent than Indonesia, with a sprawling population of over 270 million.

Throughout 2020, the archipelago saw a massive wave of criticism directed at (former) Health minister Terawan Agus Putranto for his lax approach to containing the virus.

After all, when the fate of your country depends on someone who tells people that prayer will protect them from the virus, there needs to be change.

On December 22, 2020, President Joko Widodo replaced Putranto with Budi Gunadi Sadikin as Health minister.

Widodo (nicknamed Jokowi) sacked Putranto, a military radiologist and former physician to the President’s late mother, in a major cabinet reshuffle to weed out politicians who many perceived as incompetent in handling their duties.

However, there have been mixed reactions to Sadikin’s appointment as Health minister, with many critics citing a lack of experience in the medical field. Nevertheless, there’s renewed hope that the new Health minister will bring positive change to Indonesia’s disastrous management of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But just who is he exactly?

Here are 4 things that make Budi G. Sadikin the Health minister that Indonesia actually needs:

1. He enters his new post with seasoned managerial experience under his belt.

He was a former head of Bank Mandiri, the largest bank in the country, and chief of Indonesia’s economic recovery task force. Though he doesn’t come from a background of medicine, his soft-skills will play an increasingly important role in managing the country’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Especially when you consider the fact that his predecessor was rather slow, and at times, unnervingly-secretive about the country’s COVID-19 numbers. Mashable Southeast Asia has pointed this out quite a few times in the past as well.

“We need a Health minister who has managerial and planning skills because without bureaucratic reform, it will be useless. This is the right time,” University of Indonesia public policy expert Rissalwan Habdy Lubis told BenarNews.

2. Sadikin wants to strengthen hospital capacity.

It’s no secret that Indonesia’s healthcare system has been severely crippled by the increasing amount of COVID-19 cases. Some may say that a few hospitals are already on the brink of collapse due to overwhelming patient numbers.

But the new Health minister wants to make sure there are enough beds for COVID-19 patients that desperately need in-hospital treatment.

“I have just signed all vertical hospitals under the Ministry of Health and must temporarily increase their capacity from 20 percent for COVID-19 to 30 to 40 percent,” Sadikin announced in a meeting on January 12, 2021.

3. In tandem with increased bed capacity, Sadikin aims to allocate more fresh-grad healthcare workers solely to COVID-19 work.

Of course, increasing the number of beds can only work when you increase the number of healthcare personnel as well, and that’s exactly what Sadikin aims to do.

Previously, fresh-grad nurses had to wait for their registered documents (STR) to be processed before they could begin working. Under Sadikin, these rules have been relaxed, allowing new nurses to obtain their STR immediately after graduating, allowing them to get to work as soon as possible.

This way, existing healthcare workers won’t have to be put under as much pressure as before, and it will also help reduce the amount of contact each frontliner has with COVID-19 patients. To date, Sadikin has enabled 10,000 unemployed nurses to work in hospitals temporarily.

4. More vaccine types will be considered for rollout.

When Putranto was still Indonesia’s Health minister, he had failed to include US-based Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine into consideration.

However, now that Sadikin has taken his place, the aforementioned vaccine has been added to a list of seven vaccine candidates to be considered for mass deployment. This signals a more open-minded approach to vaccine selection in the country.

The vaccines are as follows: Persero (PT Bio Farma), AstraZeneca, Sinopharm, Moderna, Novavax, Pfiser-BioNTech, and Sinovac.

Sinovac has already been rolled out in the country, with Jokowi being the first recipient.

Additionally, Sadikin has already secured another 300 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from Pfiser, AstraZeneca, as well as the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility (COVAX), which is a global vaccine distribution programme run by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Indonesia has recorded 927,380 COVID-19 cases so far, along with 26,590 deaths.

https://sea.mashable.com/social-good/14131/4-ways-indonesias-new-health-minister-is-going-to-fight-covid-19

 

Category: Indonesia

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