Problems for Overcoming Covid-19 in Papua, Some Believe that the Diseases from Evil Spirits – A chairman of the Association of Indonesian Epidemiologists (PAEI) Papua, Hasmi, revealed a number of challenges faced in handling Covid-19 in Papua from various aspects. One of aspects is culture.

“Many people still believe that the disease comes from evil spirits,” said Hasmi in an online discussion, Friday, September 24, 2021.

Hasmi said that this belief made many Papuan people difficult to accept the existence of Covid-19, and it spreads through breathing. This also resulted in their aversion to implement health protocols and vaccinations.

The next challenge is the number of religious and community leaders who are consumed by hoaxes. Hasmi revealed, there are 23 Churches that have united to express their distrust in Covid-19. They also symbolically burned masks.

“If there are religious leaders who refuse, almost certainly many followers do not want to implement health protocols and reject vaccines,” he said.

Then based on the Performance Report of Government Agencies (LKjIP), Hasmi said that the clean and healthy behavior of the Papuan people is still very low, reaching 45 percent. This means that as many as 55 percent of the people are still living with unhealthy behavior.

For the 3T aspect (testing, tracing, treatment), Hasmi said that the PCR equipment in Papua was often damaged and waited  to be repaired in the long time. In addition, the TCM tool sometimes runs out of cartridge stock to detect Covid-19. In fact, the both of tools are indicators in determining confirmed cases.

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What makes the situation even worse with the presence of Covid-19, according to Hasmi, is the number of health workers in Papua. The number of health workers to do tracing and vaccination is very limited. So, it is often for health workers to have double duties.

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