Indonesia must not over-rely on foreign COVID-19 relief: Kalla

Indonesia must not over-rely on foreign COVID-19 relief: Kalla

The Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) logo. (ANTARA/Istimewa)

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Former vice president and chairman of the Indonesian Red Cross, Jusuf Kalla, said Indonesia must make a real contribution to global scientific efforts for developing effective COVID-19 treatment, and not over-rely on foreign donations.

"Indonesia must contribute to the world of science (in devising ways) for handling the new coronavirus disease," Kalla said in a press statement here on Wednesday following a meeting with head of the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology, Amin Subandrio.

Regarding the Indonesian Red Cross' (PMI's) cooperation with the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology, Kalla said, PMI is supporting the institute by providing access to its blood processing facilities in 15 big cities in the country.

"PMI is in a position to (provide) back-up, but the support is not in the scientific area, which is Eijkman's responsibility," the former Indonesian vice president said, adding that Eijkman is welcome to use PMI’s blood processing facilities.

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Meanwhile, head of the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology, Amin Subandrio, said the government is preparing protocols and protection ethics for medical workers involved in the collaborative program of convalescent plasma therapy for COVID-19 patients.

"Our friends at hospitals need protection ethics and rules so that if something happens and there is a lawsuit, they would not be blamed because this (program) has been approved by the Indonesian Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM) and the ethics committee," he explained.

In short, convalescent plasma therapy-related services can start after the national protocols and protection ethics have been approved. The services would begin with the collection of data of COVID-19 survivors available at hospitals.

The data of the COVID-19 survivors would be followed up by PMI to examine their eligibility to become donors for convalescent blood plasma.

"Processes from the hospital to collecting the blood plasma will be conducted by PMI workers," he said, adding that the plasma would later be examined by Eijkman at its laboratories, which have a total capacity of processing 1,116 samples per day.

In early May, the Indonesian Red Cross for Jakarta region (PMI Jakarta) had expressed willingness to collect the blood of recovered COVID-19 patients to conduct a trial for COVID-19 treatment using convalescent blood plasma in Indonesia, as proposed by the Eijkman Institute. 

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