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Election officials death toll reaches 84, primarily linked to hypertension

Jakarta Globe - February 20, 2024

Maria Gabrielle & Irfandi, Jakarta – A member of the polling station working group (KPPS) in Makassar City, South Sulawesi, passed away on Monday after experiencing a fever while on duty. Fahriansyah, 26, took his last breath at RSUD Haji in Makassar.

Before his passing, the election official had undergone treatment at the hospital for three days. "One day after the vote counting, he said he felt tired and had chills. Perhaps because he stayed up late during the counting, he was taken to the hospital," said Husni MB, the district head of Makassar in Makassar City, on Monday.

Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin announced Monday that a total of 84 election officials for the 2024 election have passed away mainly due to hypertension and heart attack.

"On behalf of the government, we express our condolences for the loss of election officials, and we pray that the departed souls are forgiven and their good deeds accepted," he said during a press conference at the Ministry of Health building in Jakarta on Monday.

Becoming a KPPS member is a demanding job as they need to tally votes until late at night, sometimes even for 24 hours. These KPPS personnel receive a payment of Rp 1.1 million, and in the unfortunate event of their demise, they are entitled to compensation of Rp 36 million.

Budi had urged the election officials to maintain a balanced diet, including regulating salt, sugar, and fat intake. Efforts are also being made to reduce smoking.

"Hypertension is the highest, followed by heart issues. These are the two most significant issues. Screening has reduced the death toll by more than 80 percent, but in the future, by 2029, we aim for zero fatalities if possible," he added.

According to Budi, the number of officials who have passed away has decreased compared to the 2019 election, which was over 500. However, he emphasized that even one life lost is already too many.

In response, the government is considering continuous improvement to prevent further casualties. Screening has been conducted on 6.8 million election officials, with 6.4 million found to be healthy and 400,000 at high risk.

"Many of them still passed the screening even though they have high risk because they were registered as KPPS members before we could stop them," he said.

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/news/election-officials-death-toll-reaches-84-primarily-linked-to-hypertensio