Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Indonesian Health Ministry utilizes data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) as a reference for analyzing diseases caused by air pollution in Indonesia.

"In the limited meeting discussion with President Joko Widodo (Jokowi), we were asked for some input, because air pollution disease is similar to COVID-19," Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin stated during the working meeting with Commission IX of the Indonesian House of Representatives (DPR RI) in Jakarta, Wednesday.

He highlighted that the government's response to the current air pollution issue in Greater Jakarta must be accompanied by surveillance and data analysis to reinstate the public's confidence.

He noted that the IHME was founded by the former Assistant Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Professor Christopher J. L. Murray.

"During my visit to his office in Seattle, the United States, he showed very good data. Unfortunately, the data was too honest, (and) it made many countries uncomfortable. Therefore, he resigned from the WHO," he remarked.

Sadikin stated that Murray continued his work at the University of Washington through funding from the Bill and Melinda Foundation.

He noted that Murray's research data has succeeded in becoming a world data reference for the Burden of Disease, which allows each country to measure the burden of disease that occurs.

In the latest IHME report, data in Indonesia shows that five ailments -- tuberculosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer, pneumonia, and asthma -- can be potentially caused by respiratory diseases, the minister explained.

"It seems that this is indeed the top 15 of the diseases in Indonesia," he stated.

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He also noted that pneumonia, tuberculosis, acute respiratory infections (ISPA), asthma, COPD, and lung cancer were the top six respiratory diseases that were a financial burden on the National Health Insurer, BPJS Health.

With data from IHME, his side has been able to list diseases that have the potential to be caused by air pollution, namely pneumonia, ISPA, asthma, and COPD that are similar to pneumonia but are chronic in nature.

"Tuberculosis is caused by bacteria, not by air pollution, while lung cancer is caused by genetics," he explained.

From the results of data analysis, he stated that air pollution mostly causes pneumonia as a lung infection and ISPA as an upper respiratory tract infection that has not yet reached the lungs.

"The total BPJS Health expenditure for these diseases was recorded at Rp10 trillion last year. In 2023, it may increase again," the minister noted.

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Translator: Andi Firdaus, Resinta S
Editor: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
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