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Helping COVID-19 patients breathe easier in Indonesia

By Opportunity International Australia

In August 2021, Indonesia overtook India as the COVID-19 epicentre of Asia as the Delta variant spread and the country’s public health system became overwhelmed.

In response to this humanitarian crisis, Opportunity worked to train five microfinance partners which reach over one million households, on critical modules of education on the prevention and management of COVID-19 and address hesitancy and misinformation related to vaccination. Opportunity and its partner YCAB Foundation also facilitated targeted vaccination efforts in underserved West Java, with a focus on reaching children and youths with disability.

In addition, we worked with the Ministry of Health to identify 10 public hospitals spread across West Java, East Java and Bali with a high burden of COVID-19 cases that were also lacking in  oxygen infrastructure, and procured 50 oxygen concentrators to support the management of patients with respiratory distress.

Oxygen concentrators from YCAB FoundationRS Permata Cirebon received oxygen concentrators to support their health facility in providing the best services to COVID-19 patients.

The unexpected and sudden surges in COVID-19 have overwhelmed the public health system, especially hospital wards. While critical patients require ventilators and intubation, other patients can be supported by more portable oxygen concentrators, which help to deliver filtered supplementary oxygen by compressing the air in the room.

The distribution of this aid was supported by the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Indonesia, West Java, East Java, and Bali Provincial Health Offices, respective city/district health officials, Benih Baik, and Media Indonesia. This activity is helping hospitals treat their patients, and helping them recover to reduce the death rate from COVID-19 in Indonesia.

Stakeholders accelerating Indonesia's COVID recoveryCollaboration from all stakeholders is needed to accelerate Indonesia’s recovery from COVID-19

COVID-19 has unexpectedly increased the need for oxygen concentrators. With sudden spikes of positive cases over the year, hospitals need to be better prepared and equipped to treat COVID-19 patients with low oxygen levels that require breathing apparatus such as oxygen concentrators.

If the oxygen level in the blood is low, the patient will experience symptoms of shortness of breath, weakness, fast heartbeat, or difficulty speaking. Oxygen concentrators work by taking air from the room, then filtering the nitrogen in it and so that the patient using it gets the oxygen they need.

“YCAB Foundation have been able to mobilise rapidly to distribute these oxygen concentrators to 10 of the most needy hospitals in West Java, East Java and Bali,” said Simon Lynch, Indonesia Director, Opportunity International Australia.

“Not only does this mean lives are being saved throughout this critical period, especially amongst the most marginalised, but over their lifetime each concentrator will help around 1,400 people.”

Learn more about Opportunity's response to COVID-19 and how we continue to support families living in poverty in Asia during the pandemic

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