JAKARTA – Indonesia’s health ministry and armed forces announced on Wednesday they have sent a team of 92 doctors and paramedics to the eastern Papua province to contain a health crisis that has killed many infants in the last few months.
The health ministry sent 39 doctors, including 11 specialists, and the army sent 53 professionals, including doctors and paramedics, who arrived on Tuesday in Papua, where, according to a report by the local government to which EFE had access, 80 children died between September and Jan. 14 in the Asmat district in a hunger and measles outbreak.
Health Minister Nila Moeloek said in a statement that the government hoped the medical team would be able to help in containing the crisis.
The armed forces have also sent measles and diphtheria vaccines, 11,000 packets of ready-to-eat meals for immediate consumption and special nutrients for pregnant women and babies, according to the statement.
Treatment and vaccinations to contain the crisis have been hampered by the difficult access to some of the villages and the continued movement of the inhabitants.
Papua is the easternmost province of the Indonesian archipelago and is located in the western half of the island of New Guinea.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo has said it is a political priority of his government to develop the poorest provinces, including Papua, which has a population of around 3.5 million.
Papua is rich in natural resources and has been the stage of a pro-independence conflict since 1963, when the Netherlands withdrew from the country.