69 infants die after measles outbreak in Indonesia's Papua

Since these children were malnourished, their poor immunity couldn't resist the infection.

Medical checkup of infants
Medical checkup of infants (Representational picture) Joseph Okanga/ Reuters

Residents of Indonesia's Papua are living in fear as almost 100 people were killed after a measles outbreak in the region. According to a confirmation by an official on January 21, Sunday the affected area of the region is facing a serious health crisis.

In the remote area of Asmat region, which is located in the southern portion of Papua Province, a total of 69 infants have died. According to Muhammad Aidi, the military spokesman in Papua has confirmed the number of deceased.

According to AFP, he mentioned reports from villagers of the mountainous district named Oksibil stating that almost 27 cases of death have been registered in the region. However, they are yet to confirm the death toll.

Aidi also said that this disease is not dangerous but considered as a mild viral infection, which can be cured by vaccination. But in this case, since these children were malnourished, their immune system could not fight the infection.

The local government and the military have already sent medical teams with vaccines, medical equipment and nutritious food in Asmat. However, authorities are fearful that by the time they reach the region, the situation will have turned worse.

Meanwhile, the social affairs minister Idrus Marham said that they sent aid to remote villages and now they are only concerned about the proper distribution.

There is a shortage of doctors and other health facilities in both the areas, including poor infrastructure and communication issues. This is very contrasting to President Joko Widodo's promise of better infrastructure, which he took after winning the 2014 election.

While Asmat, which is the home of almost 129,000 people, can be accessed through a flight from Papua's capital Jayapura or by helicopters and boats, the district of Oksibil, home to 4000 residents, is more remote and can be accessed by walking for a day.