Indonesia improves its fight against avian influenza

INDONESIA – An initiative to develop isolation rooms in Indonesian hospitals has been completed, significantly boosting the country’s ability to manage infections and prevent transmission of avian and other types of pandemic influenza.

The completion of the high-tech isolation rooms at ten hospitals across Indonesia is part of an ongoing project developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) in partnership with the Indonesian Ministry of Health to combat avian influenza and respiratory diseases. This project for 'Implementing the National Strategic Plan for Avian Influenza' (INSP-AI) is funded by the European Union and implemented by WHO in partnership with UNOPS.
Dr. Khanchit Limpakarnjanarat, WHO’s representative in Indonesia said: "This is a good example of how the UN family can help each other. For this particular project, WHO had the technical expertise but did not have the local implementation capacity to get the renovation started until we found the expertise in UNOPS who helped us deliver the project on time. The donor was very pleased with the outcome of the project."

In December 2003, outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza in poultry populations in South-East Asia were reported. Since then, WHO has confirmed 184 cases of the virus in Indonesia, with 152 of these resulting in death. With the spread of the virus and the pandemic potential that it poses, WHO has been working with the Indonesian Government and the Ministry of Health to respond to the outbreak.

The INSP-AI project aims to improve the accessibility and quality of health services provided to the community. As part of this, on behalf of its partners UNOPS managed the design and construction of isolation rooms with 'negative pressure', which follow WHO's infection prevention and disease control guidelines and meet Indonesian and international best practices.

Creating negative pressure in the isolation rooms allows air to flow into the room but prevents contaminated air from escaping. These isolations rooms will help Indonesia be more prepared for any future flu pandemic.

Bryan Taylor, Manager of the UNOPS Indonesia office, said: "The isolation rooms required a complex design and construction process in order to isolate the virus, using high-tech air treatment processes and ventilation controls, which move air from clean to less clean parts of the system. On behalf of our partners, we renovated up to 10 isolation rooms per hospital, as well as intensive care units, laboratories, nurse stations, decontamination rooms, mortuaries and more."

As part of the INSP-AI project, UNOPS also has helped train more than 225 healthcare workers and technicians in infection prevention and operation and maintenance of the isolation rooms.

The INSP-AI project is part of the National Strategic Plan for Controlling Avian Influenza which was established in December 2005. The plan was formulated by the Indonesian Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Agriculture and coordinated by the State Ministry for National Development Planning.