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Indonesia’s COVID disaster a ‘child rights crisis on our doorstep’, warns Save the Children Australia

Indonesia’s rapidly escalating COVID-19 outbreak is infecting and killing children at an unprecedented rate, as Save the Children Indonesia issues an urgent plea to the international community for more vaccines.
14 July 2021

Infections among children in Indonesia are among the highest in the world* with children accounting for one in eight – or 270,000 – confirmed COVID-19 cases. More than 700 children have died from COVID 19 in Indonesia, half of those aged under five-years.

In addition to the immediate health risks, Save the Children is deeply concerned about children being left unaccompanied due to the loss of their parents to the virus, which places them at greater risk of exploitation and abuse, on top of the immense psychological distress.  

In response to the latest outbreak, Save the Children will provide tents outside hospitals in Jakarta and Bandung to accommodate an overflow of COVID-19 patients, as hospitals are ‘stretched to breaking point’. The organisation is also providing personal protective equipment for healthcare workers.

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*Source: Indonesian Paediatric Society.

Dino Satria, Chief of Humanitarian and Resilience at Save the Children in Indonesia, said:

“We are hearing reports of entire families, including young age children, infected with COVID-19 who have been turned away from multiple hospitals because they cannot take any more patients. The health system is on the verge of collapse, oxygen supplies are running out and every day, more children and babies are dying from this highly infectious, extremely dangerous new Delta strain. We desperately need more vaccines to turn the tide of infections. We hope the international community is listening. Without urgent action, many more will die.”

Archie Law, Save the Children Australia’s Director of International Programs said:

“Last week the Australian Government announced 2.5 million vaccine doses for Indonesia, as well as oxygen, medical equipment and rapid tests. This help came at a critical time and is a welcome start. Australia has a child rights crisis on its doorstep and needs to scale up its response immediately. If we’ve any chance of getting on top of this crisis, we are essentially looking at something on par with an Aceh-like response from the international community over the coming weeks and months. We need to be conscious of the profound impact this crisis will have on children’s mental health and ensure psychosocial support is at the centre of the response plan. ”

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