Jakarta Ones,-- A non-governmental organization (NGO), National Papua Solidarity
(NAPAS), urged the government to investigate the cause of death of 95
people in Tambrauw regency, West Papua, saying that the Health Ministry
neglected Papuans in remote areas.
Previously, the Sorong Raya
chapter of Nusantara Traditional Community Alliance (AMAN) reported that
as many as 95 people in Tambrauw died after failing to receive medical
In Baddei village 45 out of a total 250 sick residents have
died, in Jokjober village 15 of its 210 sick people are now dead and in
Kosefa village 35 of the 75 sick villagers did not recover.
lack of healthcare in the three villages has meant sick residents
eventually die,” Sorong Raya chapter AMAN head Konstan Magablo cited,
adding that the residents suffered from symptoms such as headache, high
fever and skin irritation.
He said that since 2010, due to a lack
of personnel, the three villages’ puskesmas (community health centers)
had ceased providing healthcare to residents.
NAPAS activist Zely Ariane said that a team from NAPAS had confirmed the regency’s death toll.
West Papua Health Agency responded to the contrary, according to Health
Ministry spokesperson, Murti Utami, between October 2012 and March this
year only 15 people had died in Tambrauw.
Minarto, the Health Ministry’s nutrition management director, said the causes of death were skin diseases and anemia.
Papua Health Office head Otto Parorrongan also denied the number of
deaths, saying that he received reports of five individuals — two women
and three children — succumbing to various illnesses.
Zely from NAPAS accused the government of neglecting Papuans.
total of population in Tambrauw is only around 2,200 people, so even if
the number of people who died is 15 that is still a big number and the
ministry should investigate the cause,” Zely said on Thursday.
ministry should distribute health workers to this area because
apparently no health workers are available,” she added referring to the
lack of doctors and nurses at puskesmas.
"It is [no excuse to say
the] areas are too difficult to reach, because they [the ministry]
really should have the equipment to reach the area and help the people,”
Otto, however, denied the accusation, saying
that a medical team, made up of two doctors, a nurse, two midwives and a
sanitary worker, had been dispatched from the Tambrauw regency health
office on March 26 to the reported villages.
"The medical team
was airlifted to Jokjober due to poor overland access, which could take
three days travel, the team was later picked up by helicopter,” said
Otto, adding that the residents suffered from anemia, skin diseases and
He said that the current situation in the villages had improved since medical workers had provided healthcare.
from the health ministry said that his office would dispatch a group of
seven to distribute the support needed, including food and medicine.
added that the team would not solely check on the health of the people
in the regency, but to also investigate the cause of the diseases and
determine whether it was due to improper sanitation, environment or food