With over 35 million men, women and children infected across the globe, hospitals and health centres have been overwhelmed by critically ill patients suffering from COVID-19 and hundreds of thousands of doctors, nurses and other health professionals have found themselves amongst the sick.
In Indonesia, one of the worst hit countries in Asia, physical distancing measures led to the temporary closures and suspension of services in health centres, known as ‘puskesmas’ and village health posts, known as ‘posyandu’, the backbone of routine maternal, newborn and child services across much of the country. This left millions of children at risk of missing out on life-saving care including vaccines and other health interventions, both critical and routine.
In fact, data from a rapid assessment jointly conducted by the Ministry of Health and UNICEF shows that between March and May 2020, the coverage rates of life-saving vaccines decreased by more than 35 per cent, compared to last year during the same period in 2019, and that more than 84 per cent of the reporting health facilities had seen their immunisation services “significantly disrupted”.
In Yogyakarta however the Tegalrejo puskesmas were able to reopen their doors to the community. How was this possible?