TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - University of Indonesia (UI) epidemiologist Pandu Riono has slammed President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo for personally distributing the government's staple food and medicine assistance package to the public, which he said was unnecessary.
Riono believed that the President had resorted to symbolism and attempted to redirect people’s focus away from the government’s pandemic mitigation, which he deemed unsuccessful.
“This is all because of the failure in handling the pandemic, the President intends to show his people that he actually cares,” said Pandu Riono on July 16.
The epidemiologist said that directly distributing government assistance packages was not the President’s job. He added many other state officials from ministries and institutions could do the job.
He encouraged President Jokowi to focus more on building a better system to handle the COVID-19 pandemic, such as medicine distribution and healthcare services that were able to reach lower economic society.
“It can be done through Puskesmas (community health centers) or clinics. That is what’s called building a system,” said Riono.
His views were echoed by the Indonesian Legal Aid Institute Foundation (YLBHI) chairperson Asfinawati, who said impromptu visits or blusukan would not significantly mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic in Indonesia.