Friday, 18 October 2019 | 05:51 WIB

Thousands of Toddlers in South Sumatera Affected by Smoke and Haze

Thousands of Toddlers in South Sumatera Affected by Smoke and Haze (elshinta)

PALEMBANG, NETRALNEWS.COM - As many as 2,188 children under five in South Sumatra have been exposed to acute respiratory infections (ARI) due to haze caused by forest and land fires in the last few months.

Mulyono, Head of the Infectious Disease Prevention and Control Section (P2PM) of the South Sumatra Health Office, said in Palembang on Saturday (09/14/2019) that the forest and land fires (karhutla) that hit a number of areas in South Sumatra had created thick smoke and haze.

"This certainly has an impact on the increasing number of people getting ARI, particularly toddlers," he said.

Mulyono said the high number of toddlers with ARI is attributed to the toddlers that do not yet have body immunity that is as strong as adults.

"This makes toddlers more vulnerable to ARI. Besides environmental factors, unhealthy air factors can also be the cause," he said.

Mulyono continued that the South Sumatra Health Office has issued circulars to all districts/cities affected by haze to anticipate the prevention of ARI during the dry season.

The circular, he said, asked all Health Offices to alert health service facilities such as village health posts (Poskesdes), health assistance centers (Pustu), community health henters, and hospitals.

"If there is an increase in cases of ARI, pneumonia, conjunctivitis, diarrhea, and others, the officers should conduct health surveillance in the area and take careful control measures," he said, as quoted from Antara.

Meanwhile, data from the Health Office showed 2,188 children under five affected by ARI from the fourth week of August to 2 September, 2019, due to the deteriorating air quality. Palembang is the highest city with ARI sufferers, reaching 276 children aged less than a year. Children at age of one to five years with ARI reached 819 toddlers.

Ogan Ilir Regency also has the second highest number of ARI sufferers with a total of 483 children under five, followed by Musi Banyuasin Regency with a total of 375 children under five.