After 61 reported deaths, Health Minister sends team to remote Papua village
Nethy Dharma Somba, The Jakarta Post, Jayapura | Archipelago | Thu, April 11 2013, 12:42 PM
A public health team will be sent to Samenage in Yahukimo, Papua, following reports that 61 residents of the remote village died from preventable illnesses between January and March, a minister has said.
"This must be checked. Every time I receive such kind of information, I always dispatch a team to check whether it is true,” Health Minister Nafsiah Mboi said after meeting local officials in Jayapura on Wednesday.
However, Nafsiah questioned the findings of the report, compiled by Samenage parish priest Rev.John Jonga, which said that residents have been afflicted by a host of ills, including asthma, diarrhea, high fevers, influenza, malaria, malnutrition, scabies, spleen infections and worms, due to an absence of health care professionals.
“This may be an exaggeration. I am doubtful that such a huge number of casualties occurred within two months when there were no wars between ethnic groups or plagues,” Nafsiah said.
The Health Minister also contested a report that said 95 died from malnutrition in Tambrauw, West Papua. “There were no malnutrition-related deaths there. Our team has visited Tambrauw. Between October 2012 and March 2013, there were only four deaths in the area.” (nai/ebf)