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Health ministry says 1 million Indonesians still infected with neglected tropical diseases

Tempo - March 7, 2024

Antara, Jakarta – The Indonesian Health Ministry drew attention to the fact that around one million Indonesians were still infected with various neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).

The ministry's Director General of Public Health, Maria Endang Sumiwi, made the remark at the commemoration of World NTDs Day in Jakarta on Wednesday.

"NTDs are old diseases related to social and economic welfare, especially occurring in tropical and subtropical areas, and still infecting more than one million of our population," she noted.

According to Sumiwi, eight of the 21 neglected tropical diseases, including leprosy, yaws, worm filariasis, and schistosomiasis, are circulating in Indonesia.

She stated that leprosy has an elimination target of less than one per 10,000 population. However, in 2023, some 14,376 new cases were reported, with 11 provinces and 124 districts and cities having a prevalence of above one per 10,000 population.

"Leprosy is not only the (disease with) high prevalence but also having a high proportion of new patients with grade 2 disabilities, at 5.75 percent," she pointed out.

Sumiwi noted that various efforts to accelerate leprosy elimination were carried out with the role of all elements, comprising the government and partners at the central or regional level, as well as within formal and non-formal organizations.

Apart from leprosy, she cited reports from the provincial Health Service that showed 69 new cases of yaws, a rarely found NTD, in 2024.

Most cases were reported from Maluku, North Maluku, West Papua, Southwest Papua, and Central Papua.

Until 2023, yaws-free status was declared in 158 districts and cities comprising 10 endemic areas and 148 non-endemic areas in Indonesia.

"This year, 99 districts and cities have passed the yaws eradication assessment and are entitled to receive a yaws-free certificate," she stated.

Her side also reported that the six provinces of Lampung, Banten, Central Java, Bali, Central Kalimantan, and East Kalimantan were free from yaws.

Moreover, filariasis eradication has been carried out in stages in 236 endemic districts and cities. By 2023, some 40 districts and cities have been declared to have eliminated filariasis and received certificates from the health minister.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1842008/health-ministry-says-1-million-indonesians-still-infected-with-neglected-tropical-disease