JAKARTA, Sept. 29 (Xinhua)-- Indonesian Health Minister Nafsiah Mboi said that Indonesia remained an endemic country for neglected tropical diseases that could cause disabilities and downgrade the quality of human resources, local media reported Saturday.
Neglected tropical diseases were poverty-related infectious illnesses mostly affected the poor in developing countries, Mboi was quoted by the Jakarta Post as saying. "They [the diseases] are often neglected. It's true that they are not so deadly but they can cause disabilities and create huge potential economic losses," she said on the sidelines of a two- day ASEAN health seminar held here on Friday.
According to the Health Ministry, five out of a total of 17 neglected tropical diseases remained endemic in Indonesia despite efforts to eliminate them. They include filariasis, leprosy, schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminthiasis and yaws.
As of 2011, Indonesia had 12,066 patients with chronic lymphatic filariasis, occurring in 334 regencies and municipalities.
To combat the disease, the ministry created Mass Drug Administration (MDA) in 119 regencies and municipalities. In total, 23.9 million people with lymphatic filariasis have received treatment called"ingested chemotherapy", the report said.
World Health Organization (WHO) Indonesia representative Khanchit Limpakarnjanarat said that neglected tropical diseases were closely related to poverty. Although the mortality rate of the diseases was not high, they had a high potential to cause disabilities to those affected, he said.