TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – Indonesian Health Ministry reported that more than 700,000 cases of tuberculosis (TB) were detected throughout 2022, the highest figure since the eradication of the infectious disease became a national priority program. Indonesia is the second largest contributor to TB cases in the world after India with 969,000 cases and 93,000 deaths per year or 11 deaths per hour.
The 2022 Global TB Report showed that TB cases mostly attacked people in the productive age of 25-34 years. In Indonesia, most cases occurred in the 45-54-year-old group.
The Health Ministry is, therefore, determined to arrange the quarantine system for TB patients to curb the chain of disease transmission.
“Referring to the results of the government’s closed meeting, a quarantine for TB patients is proposed to ensure that they can take regular medication for at least two weeks to two months,” the ministry’s spokesperson Siti Nadia Tarmizi said in Jakarta, Thursday, July 20, 2023.
Nadia explained that the government initiated the facilities to ensure patients’ regular intake of medicine and balanced nutrition. The facility would refer to the TB sanatorium which had operated in the country during the Dutch colonial period.
“It can be like a hospital. There used to be a TB sanatorium, which is mandatory for six months,” she recalled.
The Health Ministry has not yet determined whether quarantine facilities will be mandatory or optional for TB patients. What is certain is that its main purpose is to prevent infection caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis from spreading to the patient’s family or relatives.
Nadia emphasized that people with TB need a consistent intake of drugs to get it more under control. Besides, the disease is generally experienced by those with low socioeconomic status, raising concern about their imbalanced nutritional intake due to financial struggle. “So, we provide quarantine facilities,” she added.
The quarantine system will likely be similar to the COVID-19 quarantine system during the pandemic. “We are still mulling whether it is mandatory or not,” Nadia said.