Child mortality on the rise in Indonesia . . .
The Indonesian Pediatric Society has announced that more than 100 Indonesian children have died from COVID-19 each week since July 1st. While contracting the virus from unvaccinated family members appears to be a key driver among children, poverty-related health issues are also at play. Underlying health conditions like asthma, malnourishment, heart problems, and stunting can weaken the immune system and intensify the effects of COVID. Moreover, Indonesia lacks adequate facilities for treating sick children as many hospitals do not have pediatric intensive care units or specialists to treat children.
Staff resignations impact the Philippines . . .
The Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines estimates that 40 per cent of private hospital nurses resigned last year, while more nurses have followed suit this year as new variants spread. Public hospitals face similar challenges as nurses resign due to low wages, poor working conditions, and reports of unpaid benefits. Meanwhile, the allure of better-paying jobs abroad enticed 7,000 nurses to move this year. Nurses still on the job are being further taxed by working additional overtime to fill the gaps left by vacant posts from the resignations and other nurses in quarantine.
Slow vaccine rollouts in both countries . . .
The Philippines (pop. 103 million) has fully vaccinated 11 per cent of the population, while Indonesia (pop. 255.5 million) has fully vaccinated 10 per cent. The slow vaccination rate is due to difficulties related to vaccine acquisition and distribution. For Indonesia, its COVAX facility struggled to acquire enough doses earlier on, while vaccine exports from the Serum Institute of India were restricted by India when the Delta variant exacerbated COVID-19 cases in that country. Meanwhile, the Philippines was hesitant to negotiate purchase agreements with pharmaceutical companies. By the time the Philippines agreed to comply with all the conditions, pharmaceutical companies had placed them at the bottom of the priority list. But in both countries, vaccination rates may rise this month. Indonesia and the Philippines have inked deals with Pfizer-BioNTech, with Indonesia slated to receive 50 million doses and the Philippines 40 million doses.