Children and moms crowd Koja Hospital

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Seven-month-old Adrian cried out loud while a nurse inserted an IV needle in his left hand. His mother, Siti, held his kicking legs.

Pointing to a woman sitting nearby, she said, “I had fallen asleep and then she was hollering at me, saying Adrian’s intravenous liquid was leaking.”

Adrian has been treated for diarrhea for two days in a makeshift tent at Koja Hospital, North Jakarta.

“I feel sad seeing him like this, especially when he cried while the nurse put the needle in his hand just now,” she said. “I just can’t stand it.”

Adrian is Siti’s sole surviving child. She had a miscarriage before he was born, and a second child died at age two.

Siti said she became very worried when her son began defecating and vomiting almost every ten minutes. She immediately took her son to the hospital.

This is a typical scene lately in the city’s hospitals. Parents and young patients are crammed in wards or makeshift rooms. Women tend to their loved ones while their spouses clean their houses of mud left by the recent floods or return to their daily jobs to make ends meet.

Zulfikar, another seven-month-old baby, shared the tent with Adrian. His mother, Dila, has looked after him since Sunday.

“I took him to the Posyandu (neighborhood health post) at first, because I was afraid that it would cost a lot if he was treated in a hospital,” Dila, Zulfikar’s mother, said while breast-feeding her son.

“Then, a neighbor told me that he could be treated for free in this hospital.” said the resident of Plumpang, North Jakarta.

Flood victims can get free care at 80 Jakarta hospitals, both city and private.

The floodwater that inundated much of Jakarta may have receded, but diseases like diarrhea, dengue and leptospirosis are on the rise. The patients, mainly children, are crowding city hospitals.

On a bed across from Zulfikar’s, nine-month-old Arya, who also suffered from diarrhea, was crying in his mother’s arms.

“He always cries when a stranger comes toward him, thinking the stranger is a nurse who will give him a shot,” Atin said while trying to calm her son.

“I think he’s experiencing a kind of trauma since his drip once came out of his hand and he was bleeding.”

Atin said that her son’s condition had gotten better after he received care at the hospital for five days.

About 170 children were being treated for diarrhea at the hospital on Tuesday.

Some of them were housed in hospital rooms but many were being cared for in hallways and makeshift tents.

As of Tuesday, there were 867 patients being treated for diarrhea and 807 for dengue fever at several city hospitals. The number has continued to rise.

City hospitals are also treating more than 30 flood victims for leptospirosis, a bacterial disease transmitted by rats. The water-borne bacterial disease killed a North Jakarta woman on Monday. (04)

sumber:, February 21, 2007