Indonesian health workers bear the burden of new wave of COVID-19 – Indonesia


While the current COVID-19 surge is infecting and killing health workers across Indonesia, Project HOPE is preparing the country’s health workers to tackle their harrowing frontline experiences.

Washington, DC (June 16, 2021)– Indonesia’s weekly average of new COVID-19 cases has more than doubled in the last month and is over 58,000 new cases every week. Hospitals are nearing full capacity across Indonesia as the Delta variant spreads, leading to an increase in COVID-19 cases and deaths among healthcare workers. While risking their lives on the front lines of this pandemic, healthcare workers have suffered immense physical and mental harm in the context of this ongoing global health emergency.

Between 700 and 900 Indonesian health workers have died since the first confirmed COVID-19 case in Indonesia in March 2020. Since the last week of May 2021, Project HOPE has received consistent reports of additional COVID-19 infections and deaths among health workers from the Kudus and Bangkalan counties.

Lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), low awareness of virus transmission in healthcare facilities, and poor practices in the use of PPE, hand washing, and medical masks are among the reported causes of direct infection.

More than 80 percent of healthcare workers in Indonesia report moderate physical and mental exhaustion or burnout due to COVID-19. Within our program, over 40% say they need psychological support. After just one month of treating COVID-19 patients, Indonesian health workers are five times more likely to be affected by depression, almost two times more likely to be affected by anxiety and four times more likely to be affected by burnout.

Project HOPE Executive Director for Indonesia Edhie Rahmat made the following statements on the spot:

“The current surge in health care cases and deaths began three weeks after the celebration of the Islamic holiday of Eid al Fitr. Unsurprisingly, we’ve seen soaring numbers of COVID-19 cases in multiple regions.

“In Kudus, a district in the northern region of Central Java, the number of COVID-19 patients has exceeded hospital bed capacity. So far, 32 bus trips have been prepared. They evacuate over 100 patients with confirmed COVID-19 cases every day and send them to the newly established COVID-19 hospital, 150 kilometers from the district.

“Similarly, in the Bangkalan district of Madura Island in the East Java region, hundreds of COVID-19 cases are being transferred to hospitals in Surabaya, Indonesia’s second largest city, due to a lack of facilities, equipment and supplies, including hospital beds. Intensive care units, ventilators, and limited health workers on the island.

“Greater Bandung, Pontianak and other regions have reported an almost 100% increase in COVID-19 cases compared to previous months. They have decided to introduce strict restrictions on social interaction between villages and limit travel between cities. ”

Yogi Mahendra, Project HOPE Emergency Specialist for Southeast Asia:

“Most health care workers in Indonesia do not have the experience to deal with such long-term crisis situations.

“What is common is that health workers experience fear from work pressures, including excessive hours, internal conflicts, and more. If you combine that with high expectations from the patient and family – especially if a situation is not going well – it will be a burden that will be borne for a long time. ”

The HOPE project urges continued focus on the physical and mental health of health workers. Project HOPE staff in Indonesia are working with KUN Humanity System + to help health workers cope with the pandemic through free, open, group training on mental health and resilience – an important first step in normalizing a support system that is used in clinical Too often overlooked. Infection prevention and control (IPC) measures to reduce the transmission of infection are also addressed through widespread COVID-19 response and screening training and IPC assessments of target hospitals.

Project HOPE in Indonesia:

  • Project HOPE is continuously working to expand the capacity of health workers to understand, respond to, treat, and protect themselves from COVID-19. Thanks to the translation into the national language and a cascading training approach, we have reached over 50,000 healthcare workers with COVID-19 response and preparation training.
  • Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) assessments and programs were conducted at 25 hospitals in seven regions – West Sumatera, West Java, Yogyakarta, Central Java, West Kalimantan, Maluku, and Papua.
  • Over 30,000 pieces of PPE were distributed.

About the HOPE

Project HOPE is a global health and humanitarian organization operating in more than 25 countries. Founded in 1958, we work side by side with local health systems to improve health and support community resilience. We work at the epicenter of today’s greatest health challenges, including infectious and chronic diseases; Disasters and health crises; Maternal, newborn and child health; Pandemic preparation and response; mental health for health workers; and the policies that affect health care. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @ProjectHOPEorg.

Interviews possible on request.

Contact: Carly Long, media specialist, [email protected], +1 (484) 356-8618, @ByCarlyLong

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