Indonesian Health Minister Criticizes Current Covid-19 Testing Methods

January 23, 2021, 04.51 AM
Minister of Health Budi Gunadi Sadikin testifies at a hearing with the House of RepresentativesCommission IX at the Parliament Complex in Senayan, Jakarta, Wednesday (13/1/2021). ANTARA FOTO/Rivan Awal Lingga/aww. ANTARA FOTO/Rivan Awal LinggaMinister of Health Budi Gunadi Sadikin testifies at a hearing with the House of RepresentativesCommission IX at the Parliament Complex in Senayan, Jakarta, Wednesday (13/1/2021). ANTARA FOTO/Rivan Awal Lingga/aww.

JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – New Indonesian Minister of Health Budi Gunadi Sadikin has strongly criticized the government’s current method of Covid-19 testing, as the number of coronavirus cases is fast approaching the one million mark across Indonesia.

Budi slammed the methods to contain the pandemic, on grounds that it does not adhere to epidemiological standards.

“The number of Covid-19 cases continue to multiply even though the number of people tested [for the pandemic] regularly exceeded the targets set by the World Health Organization,” he said on Friday, January 23.

“The methods of testing, tracing and treatment or 3T, and isolation [of cases] are nothing more than patching up a flat tire. We are not even disciplined or impartial in carrying out the tests.”

Also read: Indonesia to Continue Stricter Protocols in Java, Bali as Covid-19 Cases Hike

Budi maintained that the authorities did not cast their net of test subjects widely enough. “The authorities might carry out many tests. But many of the samples they took are from a relatively limited number of people, not least officials like me,” he asserted.

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“Every time I meet President [Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo] I get tested. I even got a swab test five times a week before I go to the Presidential Palace,” Budi pointed out.

“The more I get tested, the more samples the authorities can acquire to meet [WHO standards]. What is the point of that sort of testing?”

He said that proper epidemiological tests should target suspected Covid-19 cases among the public, not just officials or travelers, so the authorities can trace or treat them just as quickly and as evenly they are tested.

A member of a Police 3T (Testing, Tracing, Treatment) Unit to test individuals suspected of exposure to Covid-19KOMPAS.com/WAHYU ADITYO PRODJO A member of a Police 3T (Testing, Tracing, Treatment) Unit to test individuals suspected of exposure to Covid-19

Also read: Indonesia Minister Tackles Covid-19 Vaccine Disinformation

Budi also has issues with his ministry’s figures for vaccinations. “[The Ministry of Health] will use the General Election Commission or KPU’s statistics instead of the Ministry’s, as their use in the recent regional elections make them more accurate,” he lamented.

“I will adjust our nationwide vaccination program with the [KPU’s] statistics, as they are more up to date and are better at reflecting the situation on the ground. I have had enough of the Ministry of Health’s figures, I do not think I will ever use them again.”

President Jokowi appointed Budi to replace his predecessor Terawan Agus Putranto, after the former Army General failed to curb Covid-19 numbers or ease public anxiety about the pandemic.

(Writers: Dian Erika Nugraheny | Editors: Dani Prabowo, Diamanty Meiliana)

Sources:

https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2021/01/22/14015751/menkes-cara-testing-covid-19-di-indonesia-salah-dan-tidak-efektif

https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2021/01/22/12205291/menkes-kapok-gunakan-data-kemenkes-akan-pakai-data-kpu-untuk-basis-vaksinasi?page=all#page2





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