Dear Members and Friends,
It is now clear the human cost and misery relating to COVID-19 is becoming more evident. In the UK last night, a fit and healthy 19 year-old succumbed devastating an extended family and community and challenging the belief that only the older with pre-existing health conditions are vulnerable. In Jakarta, news of multiple fatalities among our neighbours in our executive office complex and another staff of our member suddenly make the Impersonal daily stats very personal. the harsh human tragedy that is the reality of this global pandemic.
I have mentioned before that I am plugged in to a number of what’s app groups, receiving news feeds and chat chains. There is a lot of criticism at the pace of decision-making in Indonesia and how slowly they are ramping up the protection equipment for health workers and testing kits for the wider public.
Indonesia may be regarded as less sophisticated in certain respects, certainly less developed in healthcare terms. But nations regarded as sophisticated and developed are grappling with the same problems. On a daily basis, the British Government is being criticized for still being unable to meet the PPE needs of the NHS and others in frontline care. There are reportedly only 40 labs currently for test results, meant to cope with a targeted 20,000 tests per day. The private sector is screaming to know what chemicals, components and other inputs government needs to satisfy demand. They say they can adapt and do yet they can’t get clarity. Indeed, there isn’t even clarity on how many ventilators will be needed at the peak.
So, while we can convert a convention Centre into a 4000 unit Nightingale facility in just 2 weeks -admirable - the more basic interventions are lacking and the public is somewhat confused.
And, our mostly S E Asian readership will get this, just this morning it is now being declared that wearing face-masks may have an impact on the spread of the virus.
My point here is that all nations have been or are in crisis and most are struggling with the scale of the crisis and the coordination of responses. As guests in Indonesia, this is an appropriate time to support government initiatives, be they healthcare or welfare related - be that support in actual terms of leading by example and treating staff fairly and with compassion, sharing knowledge and experience of prevention and safety, or through positive communication that can help calm a nation in fear and close to panic.