Jakarta (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has directed that special facilities for tuberculosis (TB) patients be prepared where they can undergo two-month quarantine to prevent the transmission of the disease, Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin has informed.

"The President's directive is to try to prepare special quarantine places, but if possible, (place them) near each location where tuberculosis occurs," he said after attending a limited meeting on TB elimination acceleration at the Presidential Palace here on Tuesday.

According to Sadikin, quarantine is needed because medicines for TB patients produce an effect in two months.

He said that he was asked by the President to cooperate with the Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing in preparing the quarantine facilities.

The minister further said that vaccination will be provided to the community to prevent TB spread.

He explained that Indonesia has provided the Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine, which has so far been administered to children to prevent TB, but its effectiveness is only around 50 percent.

"Now, Indonesia has participated actively with world organizations; there are three potential new vaccinations that we will try to bring soon," he disclosed.

TB is a disease that dates back thousands of years and is still being detected in several big countries, Sadikin noted.

He said that the country with the highest number of TB patients is India, followed by Indonesia and then China.

He further said that the number of TB deaths per year surpasses 200 thousand, or higher than the mortality caused by COVID-19.

It has been estimated that every year, 969 thousand Indonesian citizens are infected with TB, and before the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of identified patients stood at 545 thousand, the minister said.

"Thus, the rest 400 thousand people were not detected, even though this disease can spread everywhere," he added.

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Translator: Rangga Pandu, Raka Adji
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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