Jakarta. Siloam International Hospitals —one of Indonesia’s largest hospital operators— is strengthening its services and medical workforce, as the government has confirmed the first domestic case of the Omicron coronavirus variant.
This anticipatory step followed Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin’s Thursday announcement of Indonesia’s first positive case of Omicron. A cleaning service worker at the makeshift hospital Wisma Atlet contracted the Omicron variant and was asymptomatic. The patient has already recovered.
A number of epidemiologists consider the Omicron variant to spread faster than its Delta counterpart. But the severity of the Omicron variant still remains unclear.
According to Siloam president commissioner John Riady, the healthcare sector must anticipate new waves of infections.
“We believe in the steps taken by the government because it has proven so far that all these strategies have made Indonesia one of the countries recognized for quickly handling the Covid-19 outbreak,” John said in Jakarta on Friday.
The pandemic is truly a test of the industry’s resilience and the national health system. Indonesia suffers from a low number of doctors and a bed-to-population ratio. The recent Covid-19 surge has made this gap obvious.
“Luckily, the government is agile with the mass vaccination program,” John said.
John added Siloam Hospitals would consistently take anticipatory steps as part of its long-term strategy to strengthen the national healthcare system.
Siloam currently manages and operates 39 hospitals, among them located in the Greater Jakarta area. It has operations in Java island, Sumatera, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Bali, and Nusa Tenggara.
According to John, countering the negative effects of a large-scale pandemic calls for a healthcare system that embraces a wellness concept, which helps people remain healthy and understand their bodies.
“Healthcare is to take care of the sick. A wellness concept is more holistic and is not limited to physical health, but also mental and emotional, as well as preventive [health],” John said.
Health workers will face less burden, as people become more aware of their health, along with the monitoring and early treatment of the illness.
"This is Siloam's vision," John said.
In response to the Omicron variant, Siloam Hospitals are doubling down on their efforts to educate the public. Siloam Surabaya Hospital, for instance, holds educational programs and research collaborations on the Omicron variant.
Diane Lukito, a specialist in clinical pathology from Siloam Hospital Surabaya, said “until now, the best prevention effort is to achieve the fully vaccinated target and to continue to comply with the health protocols."
PCR test remains the golden standard to detect the SarsCov-2 virus and a number of other viruses like HIV and hepatitis, according to Diane.
“To detect a number of existing Covid-19 variants, there needs to be a whole-genome sequencing (WGS) follow-up on specimens with positive PCR results,” Diane added.