Bogor, W Java (ANTARA News) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi), accompanied by Vice President Jusuf Kalla, chaired a limited-cabinet meeting at the Bogor Presidential Palace on Wednesday to discuss the outbreak of diphtheria in the country.

The closed-door meeting began at around 4 p.m. and was followed by several ministers of the Working Cabinet, including Coordinating Minister for Political Affairs Wiranto, Health Minister Nila F Moeloek, Minister of Religious Affairs Lukman Hakim Syaifuddin, and Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung.

After the meeting, Moeloek stated that the president has ordered the Ministry of Health to continue what it has been doing so far in tackling the deadly disease, which is caused by Corynebacterium Diptheriae bacterium.

"The president ordered us to continue what we had done earlier, namely carrying out the Outbreak Response Immunization (ORI) program and promoting cleanliness," Moelok stated while answering journalists` questions.

She explained that diphtheria is a problem that has always existed, for which Indonesia has been carrying out immunization program since 1977.

"This disease has never disappeared. It is not only in Indonesia but also in other countries, including India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, although in some countries it has disappeared," Moeloek revealed.

She also explained that the declaration of this disease as an extraordinary one is intended as an early warning to carry out the ORI program if a case of infection has been found.

"Hence, the treatment is immunization," she added.

She also explained that in case of an outbreak, ORI program should not be rejected.

"The Ministry of Religious Affairs has also sought help, so that its immunization program would not be rejected if there is indeed an outbreak of this kind. We should carry out the program, and they should not reject us," she revealed.

The minister of health pointed out that the control of diphtheria has been carried out by the regions, and currently, the central government has also intervened in dealing with it.

Moeloek admitted that currently, the ORI is focused on three provinces, namely Jakarta, West Java, and Banten, but will be expanded to other provinces as well.

She revealed that this was done based on the existing logistics, and it has ordered Bio Farma to continue to produce DPT vaccines.

"The vaccine comes from Biofarma, and we have asked them to continue to make it sustainable. Therefore, from December, it will continue to other affected provinces as well," she explained.


Reporter: antara
Editor: Heru Purwanto
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