Jakarta (ANTARA) - Speaker of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) Bambang Soesatyo has asked the government to optimize efforts for handling diphtheria, an infectious disease that can transmit through coughing, sneezing, or open wounds.

"I have asked the government to optimize their efforts in handling diphtheria," Soesatyo said in a statement received here on Monday.

According to him, one of the efforts to tackle diphtheria has been the provision of additional immunization against the disease, especially in areas with a risk of transmission and an increase in cases.

"Diphtheria is one of the diseases that can be prevented by immunization," he stressed.

In addition, he sought a commitment from the government, through the Ministry of Health and health services, on providing special attention to diphtheria cases. For instance, by preparing and optimizing special treatment rooms for diphtheria patients.

"Especially in areas that have the most diphtheria cases. We hope that the cases do not cause diphtheria outbreaks," he said.

He made the request to the government in response to the emergence of diphtheria cases in a number of areas, including Samarang sub-district, Garut district, West Java.

Soesatyo also asked local governments and local health services to take anticipatory steps against the spread of the infectious disease, such as carrying out immediate examinations of residents who test positive for the disease.

"Including conducting isolation, since this disease requires fast and appropriate handling to prevent further transmission," he said.

Soesatyo then asked the health service to conduct socialization for the public. This is so that if they experience symptoms of diphtheria, such as cough, sore throat, and fever, people can immediately report them or visit a health service facility.

"Keep in mind that diphtheria can cause death if it is not treated immediately and the patient does not have good immunity," he reminded.

Earlier, the Garut district government had deployed a health team to trace and prevent the spread of diphtheria cases detected in Samarang sub-district, especially among children.

"Prevention is really important. Our team had gone to the field and put their best efforts to handle this case," deputy head of Garut district, Helmi Budiman, said.

He informed that his region declared a diphtheria emergency after one case of diphtheria was found in Pangatikan sub-district in February 2023, and another one was detected in Samarang sub-district recently.

In response to reports of new diphtheria cases, Budiman said that he has instructed the Garut Health Service to check and immediately provide medical treatment to patients.

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Translator: Fath Putra M, Resinta S
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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