Indonesia targets mercury-free healthcare by 2020

Indonesia targets mercury-free healthcare by 2020

Director General of Public Health Kirana Pritasari at an event to disseminate information on the removal and withdrawal of mercury devices held in Jakarta on Tuesday (July 30, 2019). (ANTARA/Aditya Ramadhan)

Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Indonesian government, through the health ministry, has targeted to phase out mercury-containing medical devices in all healthcare facilities in the country by 2020.

"All health facilities that cooperate or do not cooperate with the Healthcare and Social Security Agency (BPJS Kesehatan) must follow the regulation regarding withdrawal and removal of medical devices containing mercury," Director General of Public Health Kirana Pritasari stated at an event to raise awareness on the removal and withdrawal of mercury devices held in Jakarta on Tuesday.

The policy is in accordance with Law No.11 of 2017 on Ratification of the Minamata Convention on Mercury to regulate the management of mercury that must be carried out by countries participating in the Minamata Convention to protect health and the environment.

The Indonesian government has participated in implementing the convention by issuing Presidential Decree No.21 of 2019 on the Reduction and Removal of Mercury in April 2019.

In the healthcare sector, the Ministry of Health, as the main actor in the removal of mercury in medical devices, targets 100 percent healthcare facilities to be free from mercury by the end of 2020.

The Ministry of Health had issued Circular Letters on the Removal and Withdrawal of Medical Devices Containing Mercury that were sent to all heads of health facilities in the country.

"We are optimistic that the heads of healthcare facilities will take measures to remove mercury-containing medical devices and replace them with non-mercury medical devices," Pritasari stated.

The removal of mercury from medical devices has been an international issue since it has been scientifically proven to be hazardous and toxic to health.

Some negative health impacts of mercury exposure comprise damage to the central nervous system, kidneys, and lungs.

Concerning the impacts on the fetus, in some cases, mercury has been found to be causal to brain paralysis, kidney disorders, nervous system disorders, decreased intelligence, mental disability, and blindness.

Some medical devices containing mercury comprise thermometers, tensimeters, and dental amalgams. Related news: Indonesia to soon ratify Minamata Convention on Mercury