Prodita Sabarini, The Jakarta Post, JAKARTA | Mon, 04/06/2009 12:02 PM
Hospitals in Jakarta are well-prepared in case of emergencies, a Health Ministry official says, but a member of the Public Health Scholars Association said more training needs to be done.
Health Ministry crisis center chief Rustam Pakaya said Thursday doctors and paramedics in 120 Jakarta hospitals were ready for emergencies such as earthquakes and floodings. Hospital buildings were designed to be tremor proof.
For Kemal Siregar, member of the Public Health Scholars Association, hospitals in the capital were better prepared than those in other cities or regencies.
“We still have to do a lot of preparation work. We have to rehearse emergency scenarios. Staff need to be trained how to treat people during disasters. The biggest weakness [of the hospital system] is the lack of coordination. There has to be training across all sectors of the medical profession, from medics and paramedics with the crisis center,” Kemal Said.
He said ambulances were part of the health infrastructure.
“Ambulances should be equipped with skilled personnel, not just drivers. Most of the time, ambulance personnel are only trained to transport a victim. They don’t know how to give first aid or save lives,” Kemal said.
Hospitals’ emergency preparedness is the highlight of World Health Day, which falls on April 7. The World Health Organization’s (WHO) theme for this year’s celebration is ‘Save lives, make hospitals safe in emergencies’. World Health Day 2009 focuses on the resilience and safety of health facilities and the health workers who treat those affected by emergencies.
WHO Director General Margaret Chan said - in a statement about World Health Day - the tragedy of a major emergency or disaster was compounded when health facilities failed.
“When a hospital collapses or its functions are disrupted, lives that depend on emergency care can be lost. Interruptions in routine services can also be deadly,” she said.
The United Nations’ International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) reported Asia was home to nine of the world’s top 10 countries for disaster-related deaths. In 2008, 321 natural disasters killed 235,816 people. Along with other weather-related events, floods remained one of the most frequent disasters last year, according to the UNISDR.
Greater Jakarta witnessed a deadly disaster last week, where at least 100 people were killed and hundreds of houses destroyed, after the collapse of the Situ Gintung lake wall.
The Fatmawati Hospital handled most of the disaster’s victims, treating 16 of the 30 victims sent to hospitals. The Fatmawati Hospital director of medics and nursing could not be reached for comment.
The head of the Jakarta Health Agency, Dien Emawati, said the hospitals’ response to the Situ Gintung disaster was adequate.
According to Rustam, doctors and paramedics in Jakarta were prepared for emergency situations.
“Members of the public are the ones who need to be trained for disaster mitigation,” he said.