Indonesian Doctors Threaten to Go on Strike over Lack of PPE



Mahinda Arkyasa

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  • TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Indonesian Medical Association (IDI) and many other professional groups voiced their protests to the government about insufficient personal protective equipment or PPE for doctors, nurses, and medical workers involved in the handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

    They even threatened to carry out a strike if the government does not meet their needs.

    "Every health care worker is at risk of contracting the coronavirus infection or Covid-19. So we demand adequate supply of PPE for all medical personnel," as noted in the written statement signed by IDI chairman Daeng M Faqih on Friday, March 27, 2020.

    "So if the needs are not met, we will ask our professional members not to take part in treating Covid-19 patients to protect and maintain safety between our peers."

    Daeng mentioned that the scarcity of protective clothing for medical staffers would increase the number of them carrying the virus, or even increase the number of fatalities. Medical personnel who get infected by the virus, he added, will stop providing medical treatment for patients and likely transmit the virus to them.

    IDI Executive Secretary Dien Kuswardani confirmed the written statement. He said the letter was agreed by the Indonesian Dental Association (PDGI), Indonesian National Nurses Association (PPNI), Indonesian Midwives Association, and Indonesian Pharmacist Association (IAI).

    Last Monday, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo stated that the government had prepared some 105,000 protective clothing ready to be distributed to hospitals across the country, viz. Jakarta, Bogor, and Banten (45,000 units); West Java, Central Java, East Java, Yogyakarta, and Bali (40,000 units); outside Java islands (10,000 units); and 10,000 units will be stored as reserves. However, in reality, many hospitals still complained about the shortage of PPE.