Health security in West Papua has been quite a concern for the Indonesian government. As the province is still lacking in many public health infrastructures, the locals of West Papua might not be able to have better access to maintain their health. Furthermore, another issue is the shortage of health workers in remote areas.
Indigenous Papuans have their way of using the herbs or plants available in nature. They use those to heal some illnesses and prevent diseases from spreading. Usually, they will go to the forest to take the necessary herbs and make traditional medicines. However, this is not enough to ensure the security of the locals’ health.
In recent years, the government has built new health facilities in Papua and West Papua Provinces. They aim to provide a responsive and safe space for the locals. So, people can access health facilities whenever they require swift diagnosis and medicine.
Government’s Effort to Enhance Health Security in West Papua
Below is a brief explanation of the government’s effort to enhance the security of West Papua:
1. The Program of Kartu Papua Sehat
Kartu Papua Sehat (KPS) or Healthy Papua Card functions to provide support and ensure the locals’ health. The local government has been disbursing a total of 800 billion rupiahs to implement the program since 2014.
The fund is used to give hospital services regarding health for the natives living in the inland of Papua. In addition, people can use the card to receive hospital services in Jakarta, Makassar, and Surabaya. So they are guaranteed when referred to take medication outside the island.
Lukas Enembe, the Governor of Papua, launched the program for the resident to get access to good health services such as expensive yet effective medicines. The program has been implemented in 8 regencies in the province. They are South Sorong, Sorong, Wondama Bay, Bintuni Bay, Tambrauw, South Manokwari, Maybrat, and the Arfak Mountains.
Also, to provide more support for health security, the government has developed the Regional General Hospital in seven customary areas, the Papua Health Institute, Puskesmas Plus, and Housing.
2. The Development of West Papua Province’s Emerging Infectious Disease Quarantine Facility
This Quarantine Facility was formed in 2020 to provide treatment and medication to break the chain of Covid-19 transmission in West Papua, mostly the Manokwari Regency and its surroundings.
The government expected the facility to provide 110 beds for locals’ who have been infected with the disease. However, some medical equipment is still being procured and delivered outside West Papua.
As this facility requires many health workers, the government has recruited doctors, nurses, midwives, sanitarians, nutritionists, pharmacists, public health workers, and technologists for the medical laboratory.
Two medical laboratory facilities for testing the patient, such as Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) and Molecular Rapid Tes (TCM), are still undergoing construction. Also, the facility’s workers have implemented the Standard Operating Procedure. It helps to ensure the work and operational activities of the facility run smoothly.
3. The Local government’s Strategic Plan realizing Family Planning using Birth Control and Childbirth
One of the significant problems related to health in West Papua is the low quality of health of the general population, including the high mortality rate of infants, children under five years old, and mothers. Moreover, there are a lot of children suffering from malnutrition and infectious diseases, and the health facilities in the province still lack proper health services.
That was why the local government, through the Public Health Sector in West Papua, carried out many programs to solve or minimize the resident’s health problems focusing on children and maternal mothers.
The officials worked on several programs such as monitoring, evaluating, and reporting the health condition of children and maternal mothers. They also promoted better health through immunization or vaccination and empowered the community to be aware of the essential nutrition of children.
Although lacking compared to other regencies, the government has provided several programs to reinforce health security in West Papua. These programs offer better treatment or medication and advanced health knowledge.