Preparing healthcare workers, volunteers for COVID-19 spikes: ministry

Preparing healthcare workers, volunteers for COVID-19 spikes: ministry

Archive photo: Healthcare workers at the Kemayoran Athlete's Village COVID-19 Emergency Hospital in Jakarta on February 26, 2021. Healthcare workers and volunteers have been trained and stationed at the hospital to handle any sudden surge in infections. (ANTARA PHOTOS/Muhammad Adimaja/wsj/my)

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Despite the recent decline in cases of COVID-19, the Health Ministry is preparing healthcare workers and volunteers to anticipate and mitigate the possibility of spikes in cases in the future.

"We have indeed prepared (healthcare workers and volunteers) for a period of many holidays/off days because (in our) past experience, during a long holiday, there was a spike in (COVID-19) cases," acting head of the Human Resources Development and Empowerment Agency of the Health Ministry, Kirana Pritasari, said at a virtual press conference in Jakarta on Monday.

The government is currently collecting data on human resources at all healthcare facilities and the number of patients undergoing treatment to determine the number of health workers and volunteers who will need to be prepared to anticipate a possible infection spike, she informed.

"Assessments are being conducted in all healthcare facilities that recruit volunteers so that we can really get (an idea of the) current condition of human resources and the number of patients being treated," Pritasari elaborated.

Even though the number of volunteers handling COVID-19 has been reduced, hospitals, under the Health Ministry's supervision, are still preparing healthcare workers to deal with the possibility of more COVID-19 patients, she added.

Healthcare workers and volunteers have also been stationed at the Kemayoran Athlete's Village COVID-19 Emergency Hospital, she said.

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The Health Ministry is coordinating with the Jakarta Health Office and the authorities in surrounding areas for dispatching health workers and volunteers to the Athlete's Village hospital, she informed.

"So that if there is an increase in cases, we will not experience difficulties like in the past," she said.

The ministry has recruited more than seven thousand to improve COVID-19 handling, she informed. Currently, there are around 4,300 volunteers on active duty, she said.

Meanwhile, Head of the Health Services Division of the National Defense Force's Health Center Colonel Dr. RM Tjahja Nurrobi said that the number of officers who will be stationed at the Kemayoran Athlete's Village COVID-19 Emergency Hospital has been calculated.

"Our calculations are, at least, at the end of the year, we can still have approximately 1,500 (officers), if approved by the Human Resources Development and Empowerment Agency of the Health Ministry later," he disclosed.

"If there are spikes (in cases), we can prepare these 1,500 people while waiting for reinforcements from the Human Resources Development and Empowerment Agency to gather volunteers who have become partners of the Human Resources Development and Empowerment Agency and Kemayoran Athlete's Village COVID-19 Emergency Hospital," Nurrobi added.

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