Government guarantees availability of diphtheria vaccines

Government guarantees availability of diphtheria vaccines

Health Minister Nila Moeloek (ANTARA PHOTO/Puspa Perwitasari)

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The government has ensured the availability of diphtheria vaccines needed for the Outbreak Response Immunization (ORI) program and Antidiform Serum (ADS) to treat diphtheria patients.

Health Minister Nila Moeloek in a press release received in Jakarta, Friday, said vaccine producer PT Bio Farma and the World Health Organization of Southeast Asia Region (WHO SEARO) had helped supply the ADS vaccines and drugs to overcome the extraordinary outbreak (KLB) of diphtheria in Indonesia.

"The provision for the vaccine will be made available in the form of the implementation of the Nawacita development priority program, where the state will come forward to protect the entire nation and provide security to all the citizens," Moeloek stated.

The Health Ministry (Kemenkes) has also asked PT Bio Farma to increase its vaccine production, so that every parent can give the basic immunization to their children to meet the needs of ORI.

 In addition to this, if the supply of diphtheria vaccines is sufficient, it can be used for people outside the ORI program. Moeloek remarked the vaccines for ORI, or for meeting the basic immunization needs, should always be made available.

The minister has asked Bio Farma to prioritize vaccine supply to Indonesia, before exporting it. Bio Farma has previously contributed 700 ADS vials for the needs of diphtheria patients.

Moeloek also revealed that WHO SEARO had donated 500 vials of ADS for the purposes of diphtheria outbreak in Indonesia.

"Last week, WHO SEARO, through the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in New Delhi, sent 500 vials of Antidiform serum, meaning that neither the public nor the patients of diphtheria must worry about the treatment," Moeloek affirmed.

She emphasized that the handling of diphtheria outbreak in Indonesia should be done by all parties by working together.

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

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

After the meeting, Moeloek stated that the president had ordered the Ministry of Health to continue what it had been doing so far to tackle 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 program and promoting cleanliness," Moelok stressed while answering journalists` questions.

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

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

She also explained that the declaration of this disease as an extraordinary one was 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 has also urged people not to reject the ORI program in case of an outbreak.