Category Archives: Health

Indonesian transportation minister tests positive for COVID-19

The Jakarta Post, March 14, 2020

Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi (center) walks at Kertajati International
Airport in Majalengka, West Java, on March 1. The minister tested positive of
COVID-19, State Secretary Pratikno announced on Saturday evening. (Antara/
Dedhez Anggara)

Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi has tested positive for COVID-19.

State Secretary Pratikno announced on Saturday evening that Budi was identified as Case 76 in a previous Health Ministry announcement and was being treated at the Gatot Subroto Army Hospital.

He declined to say when Budi had been admitted to the hospital or when he had likely been infected.

Budi reportedly attended a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

Pratikno said President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo had appointed Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Pandjaitan as ad interim transportation minister.

Gatot Subroto Army Hospital doctors said Budi’s condition was improving.

Bat for sale at Indonesia’s wildlife market despite virus warning

Yahoo – AFP, February 12, 2020

Scientists are debating how the novel coronavirus, which has killed more than
1,100 people in China and spread to dozens of countries around the world,
was transmitted to humans (AFP Photo/Ronny Adolof Buol)

Bats, rats and snakes are still being sold at an Indonesian market known for its wildlife offerings, despite a government request to take them off the menu over fears of a link to the deadly coronavirus.

Vendors at the Tomohon Extreme Meat market on Sulawesi island say business is booming and curious tourists keep arriving to check out exotic fare that enrages animal rights activists.

But scientists are debating how the new virus, which has killed more than 1,100 people in China and spread to dozens of countries around the world, was transmitted to humans.

A wildlife market in Wuhan, the epicentre of the virus, is thought to be ground zero and there is suspicion it could have originated in bats.

The possible link wasn't on many radar screens at the Indonesian market, however.

Vendors at the Tomohon Extreme Meat market on Sulawesi island say
business is booming (AFP Photo/Ronny Adolof Buol)

Its grubby stalls feature a dizzying array of animals including giant snakes, rats impaled on sticks and charred dogs with their hair seared off by blowtorches -- a gory scene described by some critics as "like walking through hell".

Bat seller Stenly Timbuleng says he's still moving his fare for as much as 60,000 rupiah ($4.40) a kilogram to buyers in the area, where bats are a speciality in local cuisine.

"I'm selling between 40 and 60 kilograms every day," the 45-year-old told AFP.

"The virus hasn't affected sales. My customers still keep coming."

Restaurateur Lince Rengkuan -- who serves bats including their heads and wings stewed in coconut milk and spices -- says the secret is preparation.

"If you don't cook the bat well then of course it can be dangerous," she said.

Stalls at the Tomohon Extreme Meat market on Sulawesi island feature
a dizzying array of animals (AFP Photo/Ronny Adolof Buol)

"We cook it thoroughly and so far the number of customers hasn't gone down at all."

This despite a request from the local government and the health agency to take bats and other wildlife out of circulation -- a call that has been all but ignored.

"We're also urging people not to consume meat from animals suspected to be carriers of a fatal disease," said Ruddy Lengkong, head of the area's government trade and industry agency.

Indonesia has not yet reported a confirmed case of the virus.

In the capital Jakarta, vendors selling skinned snakes and cobra blood on a recent Saturday night didn't have any trouble finding takers.

"It's good for you, sir," said one vendor of his slithering fare.

"Cures and prevents all diseases."

After the Indonesian tsunami: Cashing in on the dead

The devastating tsunami has shattered the lives of thousands of people. More than 400 families have lost members — and in the hospitals, of all places, people have been cashing in on the survivors' suffering.

Deutsche Welle, 2 January 2019

A hearse in front of a hospital in Indonesia (DW/J. Küng)

When the relatives of the tsunami victims come to collect the mortal remains of their loved ones from Serang District Hospital in the province of Banten, around 150 kilometers from Java's ravaged coastal region, they are in a state of shock. Jackson Sinaga from Jakarta is one of them. He lost his nine-month-old son to the floodwaters, triggered by the collapse of the Anak Krakatoa volcano just before Christmas. "Satria was fast asleep in a rented villa on Carita Beach when the tsunami crashed through the building," he says. "It happened so fast — I didn't have time to save my little boy."

Traumatized and plagued by feelings of guilt, Jackson has come to collect the boy's lifeless body from the hospital in Serang. However, instead of being met with sympathy, the 29-year-old father is presented with a hefty bill. He's told he has to pay 800,000 rupiah (€50, $55) which he owes for the transport of the body. "In cash," the forensics department employee adds. That's a lot of money in a country where the average monthly wage is less than €240. Jackson, however, is not capable of thinking rationally, and hands over the money.

Family members of the victims are being ripped off

Three more victims' families meet outside the building. They've also been told they owe money — around four million rupiah. This despite the fact that Indonesia's Ministry of Health is paying all costs resulting from the tsunami disaster, in full, with money from the government's coffers. A debate ensues among the relatives of the dead. One of the people who've been swindled collects the receipts and promises to take them to the local authorities.

Receipts issued on forged letterhead

DW confronts the hospital with the accusations, and is invited to speak to its deputy director, Rahmat Fitriadi. When asked if the hospital knew about the illegal takings, Fitriadi bursts into tears. "Neither the management nor our doctors have charged for any services. We have nothing to do with these schemes," says Fitriadi, sobbing. The official letterhead on the receipts is forged, he continues, dabbing the tears from his eyes. "This is a tragedy for our hospital. I hope this scandal doesn't damage our reputation. We support the authorities' investigation and are providing them with all available information."

Fitradi says his hospital has nothing to do with the scam

Investigators from the provincial police in Banten interrogate doctors, forensic scientists and hospital personnel — and open a can of worms. It seem that at least 15 million rupiah have vanished into the pockets of hospital employees. So far, six of the families cheated have been identified. A forensic department employee and two people working with the emergency services have been arrested on suspicion of corruption. The authorities' investigation is ongoing.

Long jail sentences

It's nothing new in Indonesia for workers in public institutions to demand backhanders or issue illegal invoices. Traffic departments will only issue driving licenses within a reasonable time if you make an "extra payment." Teachers at public schools can be bribed to give out the answers to exam questions. President Joko Widodo has repeatedly promised to clamp down on rampant corruption. What is new is people cashing in on the misery of tsunami victims. If those accused are convicted, they could be facing life sentences; they'll certainly go to prison for at least four years.

Right now, though, for Jackson Sinaga, the arrests are of little interest. "I just hope that no more surviving relatives are swindled and met with such lack of empathy," he says. The Sinaga family has certainly lost all confidence in Serang District Hospital. Jackson's brother and sister, who were also badly injured in the tsunami, are no longer being treated at Serang, but at a hospital in Jakarta.

Setya Novanto Hospitalized After Car Crash Amid Arrest Warrant in e-KTP Case

JakartaGlobe, Telly Nathalia, November 16, 2017

House of Representatives Speaker Setya Novanto has been hospitalized following
 a solo car crash on Thursday night (16/11), mere hours after making his first public
statement regarding a warrant for his arrest in the e-KTP corruption case. (Antara Photo/
Sigid Kurniawan)

Jakarta. House of Representatives Speaker Setya Novanto has been hospitalized following a solo car crash on Thursday night (16/11), mere hours after making his first public statement regarding a warrant for his arrest in the so-called e-KTP corruption case.

Novanto has repeatedly failed to show up for questioning by antigraft investigators as a suspect in the case involving massive graft in the procurement of electronic national identity cards, or e-KTP. The project was mothballed in October 2015 following a series of problems, including a late start, technical glitches and officials demanding payments from residents to provide the ostensibly free service.

Novanto's lawyer Fredrich Yunadi confirmed that his client was admitted to Permata Hijau Hospital in South Jakarta. He said Novanto was unconscious and that he suffered from high blood pressure, in addition to a pre-existing heart condition.

"I received a call to meet him at the Metro TV studios. On my way [to Metro TV], his aide informed me that they had just been involved in an accident ... he [Novanto] was injured and immediately lost consciousness," Fredrich said.

The lawyer explained that Novanto intended to comply with a summons by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) prior to the accident, but that this unfortunately prevented his client from doing so.

Fredrich said four internists are observing Novanto due to his "serious" medical condition, which will require his client undergoing a computed tomography, or MRI, test.

A few hours before the accident, Metro TV conducted a telephonic interview with the Golkar Party chairman, who denied allegations that he was trying to avoid questioning in the case.

"I have to respect the legal process I am facing now, and I always respect the process. I never fail [to comply with KPK summonses], because each of the three times I was summoned as a witness in the case against Anang, I submitted written statements. Today is my fourth summons," Novanto said, referring to Anang Sudihardjo, president director of Quadra Solution, one of the companies in a consortium that won a contract to procure the national identity cards for the government.

"This is my first summons as a suspect. I am surprised, because just after the first summons, while I was studying the legal matters for today, there was a plan to arrest me," he continued.

In early November, the KPK named Novanto a suspect in the case for a second time, based on allegations that he siphoned off Rp 574 billion ($42 million) from the Rp 5.9 trillion e-KTP project, which resulted in Rp 2.3 trillion in state losses.

"I never received money; it can be checked with the BPK [State Audit Agency] or the BPKP [State Finance and Development Surveillance Committee]," Novanto stressed.

He explained that he filed for a judicial review by the Constitutional Court of the 2002 Law on the KPK, including an article that allows the antigraft agency to question a suspect by disregarding procedures stipulated in other laws. Another article allows the KPK to request the immigration office to impose a travel ban on a graft suspect.

"I also took up legal protection measures with the president and other state agencies," he said, admitting that he reported KPK commissioners Agus Rahardjo and Saut Situmorang to the police for abuse of authority and using false documents to bar him from leaving the country.

Novanto's whereabouts were unknown when antigraft investigators showed up at his house in South Jakarta on Wednesday night. This prompted the KPK to warn the politician that he would be declared a fugitive from justice if he did not surrender himself to investigators.

Police said on Wednesday that they would assist the KPK in apprehending Novanto if requested to do so.

Related Articles:

Top Indonesian politician embroiled in huge corruption case goes missing


Muhammadiyah Bans Smoking

The country’s second-largest Islamic group has thrown its full weight behind efforts to rid Indonesia of its heavy smoking habit.

After issuing a fatwa in March 2010 to tell its tens of millions of followers that it was religiously unacceptable to light up, Muhammadiyah is now set to declare all of its health and education institutions smoke-free zones.

Muhammadiyah operates some 500 health institutions such as hospitals and clinics, about 15,000 schools from the level of kindergarten to high school and nearly 200 higher education institutions. It also operates 350 orphanages across the country.

“On Monday [today], we are going to launch our nationwide program that, starting now, Muhammadiyah’s offices, enterprises and forums are officially smoke-free areas,” Syafiq A. Mughni, Muhammadiyah’s chairman for health issues, told the Jakarta Globe on Sunday. The campaign will kick off at the Muhammadiyah headquarters in Jakarta.

“This is also meant to protect the young generation from cigarette smoke exposure and to create a healthy living environment,” Syafiq said.

He added that the campaign did not mean Muhammadiyah was telling people to stop smoking or banning tobacco cultivation. “But we want people to smoke in the right place. Not in public facility areas.”

Syafiq, who is a professor at the Sunan Ampel Islamic State Institute (IAIN) in Surabaya, said Muhammadiyah understood there would always be people breaking the rules, but officials would not halt their efforts to enforce the regulation.

When coming out with a fatwa against smoking for its followers last year, Muhammadiyah equated smoking to suicide, something sinful in Islam.

30 million Indonesians affected by hepatitis

Around 30 million Indonesians have been affected with hepatitis, the health ministry said.

Half of the hepatitis strains were chronic and around 10 percent may get worse and become liver cancer, health ministry director general Tjandra Yoga Adhitama said.

Indonesia ranks third in the world after India and China for the most number of people infected with hepatitis.

30 million Indonesians affected by hepatitis

Around 30 million Indonesians have been affected with hepatitis, the health ministry said.

Half of the hepatitis strains were chronic and around 10 percent may get worse and become liver cancer, health ministry director general Tjandra Yoga Adhitama said.

Indonesia ranks third in the world after India and China for the most number of people infected with hepatitis.

Latest research shows milk is free from E Sakazakii

The latest joint research on milk products shows that the 47 brands of baby formula milk products circulating Indonesia during 2011 are free from Enterobacter Sakazakii bacteria.
“No E. Sakazakii bacteria has been found in baby formula milk that has been produced and circulated here in this country,” the Health Ministry’s head of research and development, Trihono, said on Friday.
The research was initiated in cooperation with the Health Ministry, the Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM) and Bogor Agricultural Institute (IPB) using IPB 2003 research that claimed to have found the bacteria in milk products.
Trihono said the research was conducted using surveillance methods.
“We have taken the milk samples from two different batches with two different registration numbers from traditional and modern markets in seven regions of 33 provinces,” he added.
He said that the samples taken by the BPOM were cross checked by the IPB and Health Ministry’s research and development center using several research methods and several different laboratories.
Previously, legislators were calling for the list of bacteria-contaminated baby formula products to be made public ever since IPB researchers found that 22.7 percent of 22 baby formula samples in circulation between 2003 and 2006 contained Enterobacter Sakazakii, which has been associated with life-threatening infections such as meningitis.

SBY to open Indonesia’s largest private-owned cancer hospital

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is scheduled to officiate a new cancer treatment facility, touted to be Indonesia’s largest private-owned cancer hospital, in Jakarta on Thursday morning.
The construction of the Mochtar Riady Comprehensive Cancer Center (MRCCC) Siloam Hospital, cost US$138.8 million, tribunnews.com reported Thursday.
Located in the Semanggi area in Central Jakarta, the hospital will be one of the largest cancer hospitals in Asia.
The 30-story facility has 375 beds, digital imaging information systems, laboratories, pharmacies and information technology services

SBY to open Indonesia’s largest private-owned cancer hospital

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is scheduled to officiate a new cancer treatment facility, touted to be Indonesia's largest private-owned cancer hospital, in Jakarta on Thursday morning.
The construction of the Mochtar Riady Comprehensive Cancer Center (MRCCC) Siloam Hospital, cost US$138.8 million, tribunnews.com reported Thursday.
Located in the Semanggi area in Central Jakarta, the hospital will be one of the largest cancer hospitals in Asia.
The 30-story facility has 375 beds, digital imaging information systems, laboratories, pharmacies and information technology services