Against All Odds: HIV/AIDS Epidemic Among Indigenous Papuans
Unconscious, a tear rolls off Mandisa's face as she lay on the hospital bed at the brink of death.
Mandisa (25) who is in the late stage of AIDS clings to her life. After being sick for many months, Mandisa's family finally brought her to the hospital to get medical treatment. Due to a lack of experienced health staff, family and friends must stay by her side the entire time. Her condition suddenly deteriorated overnight and her body went into a state of shock and she lost consciousness.
In Papua, all indigenous Papuans have access to health insurance, called Jamkesmas or Jaminan Kesehatan Masyarakat Miskin, provided at no cost by the provincial government. However, inadequate facilities, limited availability of medical equipment and medicines, and inexperienced health staff have made it difficult for indigenous Papuans to get tested for HIV/AIDS and receive quality assistance, counseling, and long-term care. Many health staff in Papua still lacks medical training to run and manage Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) clinics. In other places, even when health personnel have sufficient training, their clinics are often overcrowded and inadequate, lacking proper equipment such as testing reagents, centrifuge, HIV rapid tests, CD4 machines, and medicines to treat opportunistic infection and antiretroviral therapies. In some cases, health care workers fail to monitor and maintain the availability of necessary supplies and medicines to avoid shortages.