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Covid-19 Support not Reaching Pulau Rhun Yet

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Pulau Rhun in Banda Island, Maluku, is famed by the abundant supply of nutmeg. Nutmeg has so far been the promising commodity to Pulau Rhun people. Unfortunately, the prominence of Pulau Rhun as nutmeg producer does not mean to lure public attention to the local community. Let alone, during the pandemic, the villagers of Pulau Rhun have not got any support from the government in prevention of Covid-19 transmission.

Since the outbreak of Sars Cov-2 across Maluku, the villagers of Pulau Rhun reckoned the regency, or provincial or central government has never reached them yet. People in Pulau Rhun seemed to be out of the government’s attention concerning with Covid-19 prevention and socialization. 

Santi Handina, a nurse to the sub-community health center (Pustu) Pulau Rhun Village, said that during the pandemic, they have never got any health support from the government. Whereas, there were three peoples in Banda Island who were once isolated at Banda Neira. These three came from outside Ambon and were infected after conducting rapid and Swab tests.

“Initially things went normal. But on the third month of Covid-19 pandemic in Maluku, there were three newcomers who were deemed reactive. Three times rapid and Swab tests unveiled positive results. They were then isolated and returned back to Banda Island,” said Santi.

From these cases, ideally Banda Island, including Pulau Rhun, got serious government’s attention in terms of distribution of health assistance. Thus, the public access to health facility is not an easy job. But, since the first case up to November on the arrival of EcoNusa Maluku Expedition team, none of government or other’s gave their assistances.

The only assistances, such as masks and hand soap, were of the local authority of Pulau Rhun Village through Village Fund. Santi said that a local of Rhun intends to have rapid test, one should go to Banda Neira District. But there is quota. It implies that if there is quota on Monday, rapid test on Tuesday would cost IDR350,000.

“EcoNusa Foundation has given rapid test kits. Insya Allah, we could conduct an independent rapid test thanks to the kit given by EcoNusa,” she added.

She thanked for the outsider who was helping the village community to prevent from Covid-19 transmission. 

“Thanks God, with the visit of EcoNusa medical team, I come to know how to use the rapid test tool. So, we need not to spend IDR80,000 to go back and forth and a statement from rapid test in Neira,” Santi said.

Similarly, the head of Pulau Rhun Village, Salihi Surahi, admitted that health assistance given to the Pustu is the budget allocation of Village Fund. The fund was spent for hand soap, wash basin, masks, and sprayer as the health protocol kits in the village.

Salihi suggested that the government assistance has never reached Pulau Rhun due to the limited sea transportation access. But he said that it should not have been the reason for neglecting the communities in Pulau Rhun with lacking socialization and knowledge on Covid-19.

“There has no government assistance so far. Meanwhile, we also need health assistances. Because, when there is a guest, we should apply health protocol,” Salihi said.

As to him, EcoNusa is the only party coming and distributing health kit supports to the community in Pulau Rhun during the pandemic.

“There is no government assistance yet. But, there is medical support such as deploying a midwife and nurse,” he said.

Editor: Leo Wahyudi & V. Arnila Wulandani

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