Indonesia has recorded more than 5.5 million cases of Covid-19 and more than 148,000 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. These are official figures, assumed by epidemiologists to be far lower than the actual impact of the disease on the Indonesian population.
In July and August 2021, as the deadly Delta wave swept across the country, hospitals were overwhelmed and graveyards struggled to cope with a massive increase in demand for burials. Since then, Indonesia’s vaccination program has accelerated. More than 50% of the total population (an incredible 144 million people) have now had two doses of the vaccine, with almost 70% receiving at least one dose.
Over the past few weeks, the arrival of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 in Indonesia has seen case numbers climb again – reaching daily numbers even higher than those recorded during the Delta peak. But what is happening in Indonesia’s hospitals this time around? Are vaccinations doing what they should? What are the legacies of the Delta wave on the health system and the people of Indonesia?
In Talking Indonesia this week, Jemma Purdey talks to Dr Dicky Budiman, a medical doctor, epidemiologist and advisor to governments and international organisations for more than 20 years. Dicky is currently completing his PhD at Griffith University on global health security, risk communication and the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2022, the Talking Indonesia podcast is co-hosted by Dr Jemma Purdey from Monash University, Dr Dave McRae from the University of Melbourne, Dr Jacqui Baker from Murdoch University, and Tito Ambyo from RMIT.