Jayapura, Jubi – At least 166 Asmat residents are suffering from leprosy, the local health agency said.
The residents live in two villages, Mumugu Satu and Mumugu Dua, located in Sawaerma Sub-district, said Asmat Regency.the head of Asmat Health Office, dr. Pietererta Pajala by phone on Monday (21/9/2015).
He said the number of lepers in Mumuju had increased from 140 to 166.
“In early August we found 140 people suffering from leprosy. When our colleagues from Health Problem Controller (PMK) conducted intensive monitoring, they found other lepers among local residents. So, currently total people suffering from leprosy is 166,” he said.
“We know that leprosy can be cured by taking medicines regularly, while people are mostly not taking drugs because the health workers do not provide services to community by visiting their home or bivak (Asmat traditional house) to encourage them for taking medicine. That’s why the leprosy is increased among the people,” he said.
In handling this situation, he said, the Asmat Regency Health Office attempts to hire some health workers to be replaced in Mumugu, but it’s not lasting. “So, we work together with Alfons Sowada Foundation of Agats Diocese, because according to them, they could reach patients who gather foods in the forests or stay in the bivaks. It’s something that we couldn’t do but they certainly can,” he said.
He further said the Asmat Regency Health Office signed the Memorandum of Understanding with Alfons Sowada Foundation of Agats Diocese in January 2015. Through this collaboration, the foundation could assist the regional health office in providing services and medical treatment to the lepers.
“This collaboration has been implemented for 8 months because it was started in January and it continues until December. After that, we will conduct an evaluation whether the leprosy is reduced or not,” he said.
He admitted he already reported this situation to the Head of Papua Provincial Health Office, drg. Aloysius Giay, during his field visit to Mumugu Dua Village on Thursday (17/9). Earlier, Pastor Hendrik Kada Pr who served in Sawaerma Sub-district said the number of people suffering from leprosy in Mumugu has increased from about 150 in 2014 to 165. (*/rom)