Gov’t Committed to Speeding up TB Elimination

By Office of Assistant to Deputy Cabinet Secretary for State Documents & Translation     Date 18 Juli 2023
Category: News
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President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo chairs a limited meeting on accelerating elimination of tuberculosis, at the Merdeka Palace, Jakarta, Tuesday (07/18). (Photo by: PR of Cabinet Secretariat/Rahmat)

The Indonesian Government has renewed its commitment to accelerating the elimination of tuberculosis (TB) in the country.

According to Minister of Health Budi Gunadi Sadikin, the Government will take several measures, including TB detection, treatment, and vaccination.

“Indonesia is currently listed as the world’s second-largest TB-burdened country with an estimated 969 thousand TB-infected people, while other 545 thousand people were already exposed prior to COVID-19. The remaining 400 thousand people were not detected. It is an infectious disease that can spread everywhere,” the Minister said in a press statement, at the Merdeka Palace, Jakarta, Tuesday (07/18).

Budi revealed that the Government accelerated TB detection last year which resulted in 720 active cases, higher than before the pandemic at around 545 thousand survivors.

“With the acceleration program, we find the TB infection rates increased. Hopefully, 90 percent of the current total can be fully detected by 2024,” he said.

To constantly speed up the detection, he added, President Jokowi has urged Ministry of Health to collaborate with Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Villages, Disadvantaged Regions and Transmigration.

“I need to work closely with Minister of Home Affairs and Ministry of Villages, Disadvantaged Regions and Transmigration to ensure that the detection of all people who may have tuberculosis can be carried out immediately. If possible, we will complete those 969 thousand as soon as possible,” he added.

In addition, the President also ordered relevant officials to prepare a special quarantine close to the area where tuberculosis occurred.

The Minister further said that the quarantine is also expected to prevent the survivor’s family from getting transmitted and to make TB survivors disciplined in taking medicine since the treatment will last for six months with a minimum of two months of treatment until it shows positive results.

“We will provide special quarantine facilities for these next two months as directed by the President. If necessary, the quarantine facility will be located close to an area where TB occurs. I will also collaborate with Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing under the coordination of Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture,” Budi said.

On that occasion, Budi also conveyed that the Government is currently working on a study related to TB vaccine, considering the low effectiveness of BCG vaccine.

In addition, Indonesia also has actively participated with world organizations to bring three potential new TB vaccines, he said.

“The closest one is the vaccine found by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), then taken over by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is now in the process of conducting a clinical trial in Indonesia under collaboration with Ministry of Health, University of Indonesia, Padjadjaran University, and the Food and Drug Supervisory Agency (BPOM),” he explained.

Besides the recombinant protein TB vaccine from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), he added, two other potential vaccines being studied by the Government are mRNA (BioNTech – Biofarma) and viral vector (CanSino – Etana).

Regarding the budget allocation, the Minister said that his institution also received donations from several parties, such as USAID which donated US$70 million for the TB eradication program. The budget will be used by the Government and community organizations to help eradicate tuberculosis.

“Therefore, there is no budget issue for TBC. The donation is much bigger than the Government’s budget,” the Minister said. (FID/UN) (RIF/LW)

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