Malaria in Indonesia
Brief Overview of Malaria in Indonesia
Malaria is a deadly disease transmitted by bites from infected female mosquitos. Without treatment, malaria is a fatal disease and is one of the highest killing diseases mostly in the developing countries. In 2015, there were close to 214 million cases of malaria worldwide, and out of these cases, 438,000 people died, the majority of which were children, particularly, in the less developed countries (“Malaria Facts,”). Malaria can be classified as a global health issue since it is a universal disease whose effects is felt around the world in different magnitude. Of importance to the task at hand, in South-East Asia where Indonesia is located, in 2011, 2.1 million cases of malaria were reported, and this resulted in around 1,819 deaths, which were accounted (WHO). In the line of understanding the variables at play in malaria cases in Indonesia, this paper will analyze the facts behind this disease shedding light on the statistics, the policies used for countering the disease and the needed realignments that can help the country fight the disease better.
Indonesia has a population of close to 230 million people, and, annually, there are several million cases of malaria caused by all forms of 20 anopheline vectors. The country is made up of islands stretched close to 5,000 km, and irregular pattern of habitation of these islands forms the greatest challenge of controlling malaria infections in the country (Elyazar, Hay, & Baird). Moreover, the fight against malaria has also be doomed by social, political, and economic challenges that have faced the country since the great recession caused by The East Asian Economic Crisis in 1997. Besides, despite malaria being one of the high-risk diseases in the country, the country has lacked undertaking of a systematic review of the disease to learn the pattern and the possible factors behind the identified challenges.
With malaria infection quoted to the tunes of millions, its health burden remains high although it is mostly understated. There are no solid state data from the Indonesian health sector with research findings indicating that many malaria incidences are not either recorded or understated. For example, in 2006, the WHO research found out that there were 2.5 million morbidity cases of malaria, but Indonesian MoH records indicated that there were 0.3 million cases (Elyazar). The problem of mortality rate is similar to morbidity where there are no reliable data. However, based on the findings of WHO in 2006, there were 3,000 mortalities in Indonesia. Moreover, this was understated to 494 deaths by the government (Elyazar). It is, therefore, clear that most of the malaria statistics are not recorded in Indonesia by the government. In addition, in respect to Indonesian life expectancy (LE) of 72.71 years, the country’s corresponding Years of Potential Life Lost (YPLL) equals LE minus age at death (AD), or YPLL = 72.71- AD.
Comparison of the Health Burden
The country of comparison is Malaysia. Contrary to the case of Indonesia, the government is keen to ensure that there is an updated data on malaria. Moreover, there is an elaborate plan of ensuring that the disease will be eliminated in 2021. Morbidity rates have been on the decline with the statistics indicating a decrease from 12,705 cases in 2000 to 4,725 cases in 2012. Moreover, the mortality rate has also been on the decline of 35 in 2000 to 16 deaths in 2012 (Vector Borne Disease Sector, Disease Control Division, Ministry of Health, Malaysia). However, to eliminate the element of bias and perform a diligent comparison, the study at hand will utilize the statistics for the year 2006. While in Indonesia, there was a morbidity of 2.5 million cases per year, in Malaysia there were only 600 cases (Vector Borne Disease Sector). Moreover, in the same year, the malaria mortality rate was 20 deaths (Vector Borne Disease Sector), compared to Indonesian statistics of 3,000. While the life expectancy in Indonesia is pegged at 72.71, in Malaysia, the life expectancy is 74.98. Therefore, the YPLL equals YPLL (74.98) minus AD which is > YPLL (72.71) – AD if AD is held constant and < than LE an indication of a healthy society in Malaysia compared to Indonesia.
Economic, Social, and Cultural Factors’ Effect
It is evident that Indonesia scores dismally compared to Malaysia, while taking such factors as economic, social and cultural. Economic factors are one of the main factors for the poor performance, after The East Asian Economic Crisis in 1997, the Indonesian currency lost value significantly to the tune of 85% against the US dollar (Elyazar). The impact of this low valued currency is that the government decreased the allocation to the ministry of health, and even though there has been a significant improvement, the allocation remains relatively small as compared to Malaysia, which has a better GDP. This is evident in the poor hospital availability rates where, in Malaysia, it is three times better than Indonesia. Another factor is the social setting of the Indonesian people where mobility is a common norm, and this has made it impossible to control the disease. Besides, Indonesia is characterized by a complex culture since some citizens do not believe in modern medication thus making it impossible to curb the spread and perpetuity of the disease (Elyazar). Covering of the vast space with limited resources is also a problem that has led to the huge statistics being recorded concerning malaria disease.
It is evident that there is a gap that needs to be filled in the collection of updated data on cases of malaria if positive steps are going to be made. Moreover, it is clear that the cases of malaria are significantly high due to a few resources being allocated to the ministry of health. Besides, economic, social and cultural factors are also affecting the fight against malaria negatively. Therefore, specific realignments regarding data collection and resource allocation are needed to curb the malaria cases in Indonesia.