Health Centers Set Up in Disaster Zones

JAKARTA ~ The government has established crisis health centers to ensure a quick response to the many disasters that afflict the country, the health minister said.

“Quick response to disasters is a priority. We set up crisis centers in nine regions so we don’t have to go through Jakarta to quickly respond to disasters,” Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari said this week.

The disaster-prone areas covered include Medan, covering northern Sumatra and Aceh, Riau, Jambi, Java, Kalimantan and Sulawesi.

The centers are able to respond quickly with money, food and medicine in the event of a disaster.

They have already been put through their paces.

In recent weeks the crisis centers have helped out following a deadly earthquake and landslides in northern Sumatra, massive floods in Aceh province, Riau and West Kalimantan and two ferry sinkings.

According to government estimates, Indonesia suffers an average of 2.75 natural disasters a day, whether quakes, landslides, floods or other crises.

Supari also presented her department’s achievements over the past two years, pointing to a “significant drop in the infant mortality rate from 35 per 1,000 births in 2004 to 30.8 per 1,000 births in 2006.”

The maternal mortality rate dropped from 307 in 2004 to 262 per 100,000 births by the end of 2006.

By comparison, the corresponding reported figures for the United States are six and eight, respectively.

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