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Building Covid-19 Awareness in Maluku

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Kaka from SLANK BAND is simulate health protocol to prevent Coronavirus spread. (Doc.EcoNusa/David Herman Jaya)

One of the solidarity missions promoted by the EcoNusa Maluku Expedition is the support for curbing the Covid-19 transmission at the visited villages. That was done by distributing health supports to some community health centers in Maluku Province.

The health equipment included globes, medical masks, face shields, face masks and rapid test tools. EcoNusa held assisting program and free medical check while promoting support on Covid-19 prevention awareness like manual book, calendar and T-shirt. Health support was distributed to some villages in two regencies, namely Nuruwe Village in Kairatu Barat District, Seram Bagian Barat Regency and Haruku, Ameth, Pulau Rhun, Ay, Hatta and Neira Villages in Maluku Tengah Regency.

Medical team from Maluku Expedition is examining villagers in Nuruwe, West Kairatu District. (Doc.EcoNusa/Victor Fidelis) 

Poor Community Awareness on Covid-19 Transmission

During the visit, EcoNusa Maluku Expedition team observed that many villagers failed to comply with Covid-19 health protocol. Most villagers did not wear any face masks on their outside activities or social interaction. EcoNusa team’s doctor Syaiful Islam said that Nuruwe was the most disciplined in health protocol compliance among the other villages.

Read also: Maluku EcoNusa Expedition An Encouragement for Nuruwe

“From all visited villages, Nuruwe is better in terms of health protocol implementation. Perhaps, it is due to the Nuruwe Village Head’s stern measure so that the residents comply and be willing to act the government’s order,” said Syaiful.

Meanwhile, in Ameth Village, Nusalaut District, most villagers doubted the existence of Covid-19. Upon the team arrival, the village asked EcoNusa medical team to provide explanation on the pandemic as knowledge to the residents.  

“The village administrative called us to verify the issue to avoid misunderstanding (about Covid-19). There are actually many cases in Nusalaut but all has been recovered,” said Syaiful.

In Pulau Rhun and Ay, Banda District, Banda Island, the condition was more worrisome given the fact that these two areas have never had any education nor support for Covid-19 mitigation. Consequently, most communities did not wear any face masks, despite the fact that, as to one villager, there had been three positive cases in Rhun.

Similar response was expressed by Santi Hadina, a nurse at the sub-community health center of Pulau Rhun and Covid-19 task force.

Baca juga: Restoring Food Independence of Communities in Coastal Halmahera

“Initially (when Covid-19 outbreak happened to Maluku) it was just normal. But on the third month of Covid-19 in Maluku, there were three outsiders who came to Rhun was deemed reactive. Three rapid and swab tests revealed them with positive infection. They were then isolated in the district in Banda Neira,” said Santi.

Santi explained that since its initial pandemic there were three cases, government has never given its supports to the villages. Luckily, she is one of the Covid-19 task force, so she knew well the health protocol procedure when there is a patient with Covid-19 symptom. 

“In general, the visited villages have fallen short of discipline and compliance with Covid-19 health protocol, physical distancing and face masks. To change habit maybe will take time. All should be well comprehended. But actually awareness should come from within their own selves,” said Syaiful.

Kaka Slank Joined Covid-19 Mitigation Campaign 

Slank Band Group lead vocal, Akhadi Wira Satriaji or Kaka, admitted that along with the EcoNusa Maluku Expedition team, he found some facts on the ground.

“During the trip, I learn to take part in public education to the communities at the coastal, remote and small islets through Covid-19 socialization. The expedition is very good. We should introduce much basic knowledge to the community. Government campaign has not reached the communities at the coastal and islets here,” Kaka said.

Kaka said that there were shocking facts during the expedition and Covid-19 mitigation program with EcoNusa team. One of them was the fact that pandemic does not even affect peoples’ lives. Most communities are in short of awareness to prevent coronavirus. Worse, some sub-community health centers lacked knowledge on how to use rapid test. Whereas, that test is the basic knowledge for medical team. Thus, EcoNusa medical team should educate this concern to the community.

Read also: EcoNusa Drives South Halmahera People to Avert COVID-19

The very basic stuffs like washing hand, wearing face mask and physical distancing are not massively disseminated. Therefore, building awareness to such remote areas are badly needed to prevent the transmission.

“But I saw in some villages that peoples were so eager to know and check their health following the health briefing. The virus will be even worse when there is comorbid. It means, if one is positive with comorbid like asthma, it could put one at risk,” said Kaka. 

Kaka said so long as we have empathy to our fellow human, we are obliged to promote the mitigation of Covid-19 to the community with limited information as it was the case of these islets.

“I am here in this expedition, personally to let myself to be used to promote the virtuous campaign. I make use of the EcoNusa expedition here to learn,” he added.

Editor: V. Arnila Wulandani & Leo Wahyudi

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