IO, Jakarta – A sad commentary on our humanity here in Indonesia: Nurses employed by the RS Persahabatan Hospital, whose duties include treating Corona (COVID-19) patients, are stigmatized in their home neighborhoods. They were told in no uncertain terms by their landlords and landladies that they are virus carriers and must vacate their rooms, and they are thus forced to live like vagrants in the Hospital. “Nurses have reported to us that some of their colleagues no longer live in their lodgings, because it is known that the hospitals they work in are referral hospitals for COVID-19 patients. I have asked these unilaterally banished nurses where they live, and they admit to be camping out in their working hospital,” said the Indonesian National Nurses Association’s General Chairman, Harif Fadhilah.
Harif stated that the hospital management is currently searching for places where these stigmatized nurses can live. “Meanwhile, the hospitals are looking for decent places for them to live in or at least transit from,” he said. “So far, reports of stigma only come from the nurses of Persahabatan Hospital. No nurses in other referral hospitals have reported this kind of story to us.”
Harif stated that the stigma was not only suffered by nurses. Intern doctors, medical students, and specialist medical students and doctors from Persahabatan Hospital also suffer from the same hostile treatment. He further stated that even families of medical workers are stigmatized. However, he has not confirmed the latter case
Harif expressed his disappointment that laypersons stigmatize nurses who treat Corona patients as virus carriers. He said that we need constant educating to make sure that the common people know that Corona inspection is not from airborne virus, but from being splattered by saliva from a sufferer’s cough. “I am extremely disappointed and I regret this hostile attitude. We also understand the reason for the people’s fears, but this attitude is simply inhumane. Naturally, we must combat it by constantly educating the people that COVID-19 infection comes from splashed saliva droplets, not through the air. We can prevent it among others by physical distancing. If we can keep our distance and hygiene in our lodgings, there is no reason to fear,” he said.
Meanwhile, Commission IX of the House of Representatives (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat – “DPR”) of RI also responded to the expulsion of corona nurses working for Persahabatan Hospital from their lodgings. It is an inhumane act as well as great disrespect towards hardworking medical workers. “We ask the people to properly respect and appreciate the dedication of these medical workers who handle the Corona virus. They are great, brave workers of humanity. Therefore, it is a gross disrespect and ingratitude to stick them with negative stigmas,” said Commission IX of DPR RI member from the National Mandate Party (Partai Amanat Nasional – “PAN”) Faction, Saleh Daulay. “I heard of bad treatment towards these medical workers. It never should have happened – they should be treated well instead. They are health heroes!”
Member of Commission IX of DPR RI from the National Awakening Party (Partai Kebangkitan Bangsa – “PKB”) Faction, Nihayatul Wafiroh, is also saddened by the bad treatment received by medical workers. Such a negative stigma against them is unreasonable. “I am very sad to hear that nurses who have been treating Corona patients get kicked out of their lodgings. We hope that this is the first and last time this has happened. The stigma that medical workers are Corona virus carriers is simply unreasonable. They do their work, their duties, and their responsibilities with strict adherence to treatment procedures,” she said.
Nihayatul further stated that the Government is responsible for the safety and protection of medical workers. She supports the plan to construct special shelters for them. “Medical workers are the frontline soldiers in the mitigation of the Corona virus. They deserve maximum safety and protection, due to the extremely high risk of their work,” she said. (des)