Solving the Measles and Malnutrition Crisis, ACT Continues Health Intervention in Asmat

Solving the Measles and Malnutrition Crisis, ACT Continues Health Intervention in Asmat

ACTNews, ASMAT – ACT’s Emergency Response team is still performing humanitarian missions in Asmat after the outbreak of measles and malnutrition in early February.

To this day, Aksi Cepat Tanggap (ACT) has sent four batches of volunteers. The first team came to perform assessment, while the second to the fourth team provide food aid and medical services to the locals. 

Until March, ACT is still distributing the 100 tons of food aid from the Humanitarian Ship for Papua and providing medical services in a number of districts in Asmat hinterland.

Each medical team consists of a doctor, a nurse and a nutritionist. According to the team coordinator of the second batch of ACT’s medical team who has returned to Jakarta, Dr. Azhari Mughful (28), the problem of measles and malnutrition in Asmat is very complex.

“One of the fundamental problems is the mindset of the locals. To fulfill their basic needs, especially food, the majority of the people in the hinterland often go to the jungles. They stay there for months, looking for Agarwood, and eating anything they could find regardless of the nutrition,” explained Mughful.

This condition is also worsened by the lack of education about clean and healthy lifestyle from relevant institutions. The majority of the locals are living an unhealthy lifestyle, such as defecating in the swamps, not having proper restrooms, not washing their hands frequently, littering and other unhealthy activities.   

“Therefore, we (ACT team) not only provided vaccinations and health care services, but also counseling to the locals about clean and healthy lifestyle,” he said on Friday (16/3).

Mughful further added that to solve the measles and malnutrition crisis in Asmat will need intensive, long-term solutions. “Other than giving health counselling, subsequent economic empowerment and development programs for the locals are also needed,” he emphasized.

A similar statement was also made by the manager of ACT Medical Team, Dr. Rizal Alimin. “We will keep collaborating with each community medical clinic (puskesmas) of every district and the Department of Social Welfare. ACT is also initiating economic empowerment programs to improve the economic condition of the villages,” he said.

The spirit to collaborate with relevant institutions was also kindled by the third batch of ACT medical team that is currently on the location.

Dr. Dimas Adibayu Dewo (28), the coordinator of the 3rd ACT Medical team, is involving every element of Asmat society to handle the measles and malnutrition crisis.

According to the alumnus of the Faculty of Medicine of Trisakti University, his team will visit each district. “There are only four districts that have been reached by our program,” said Sudewo.

He promised to keep coordinating with many elements of Asmat society such as the members of the integrated service post (Posyandu), community health clinics (Puskesmas) and the local Department of Health.

The 3rd ACT Medical team focuses on advocating and coordinating, providing health care and vaccination, giving counseling about nutrition based on local resources, and also giving other counseling based on the need of the local communities.

Therefore, ACT is collaborating with the taskforce from the Indonesian Army, the local Department of Health, local regional hospital, community health clinics, Indonesian Ministry of Health, Department of Social Welfare and other elements of Asmat society. []   


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