Indonesia COVID-19 Response

Image: Wahana Visi Indonesia

Indonesia was hard hit by a surge in COVID-19 cases between June and September in 2021, as the rapidly-spreading Delta variant increased transmission, illness and loss of life. By December, the country had recorded well over four million cases of COVID-19 and close to 150,000 deaths, though the real numbers are thought to be much higher.

While vaccination has been increasing steadily in response to the outbreak, in a country with a large, sprawling population, reaching vulnerable groups and communities is an ongoing challenge for health workers.

The pandemic has severely disrupted Indonesia’s economy, pushing more people into poverty, and disproportionally affecting marginalised groups. Following a decade of steady GDP growth, the economy contracted 2.1 per cent in 2020. According to the World Bank, about 1.8 million people became unemployed and 2.8 million people fell into poverty between February 2020 and 2021. Indicators relating to livelihoods, food security and gender-based violence have all deteriorated since the pandemic began.

The AHP Response

Beginning in November 2021 and running until January 2023, the $5 million AHP response is part of a wider package of pandemic support to Indonesia initiated by Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne.

The AHP response in Indonesia is being delivered by World Vision Australia through Wahana Visi Indonesia, in consortium with 13 Indonesian NGO partners, and the Church Agencies Network Disaster Operations (CAN DO) consortium, including ADRA Indonesia, Catholic Relief Services, Church World Services, and Maha Bhoga Marga.

The activation covers 12 provinces and 56 districts from Aceh to Papua, with a strong focus on the eastern islands of Indonesia. Its key goals are supporting the sub-national health response to COVID-19, and building community resilience.

AHP partners will strengthen community health capacity and support the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines, with a particular focus on areas with low vaccine coverage and the inclusion of women and people with disability.

Community resilience will be strengthened through psychosocial support and mental health referrals, protection activities, and increasing access to livelihoods for those who have been severely impacted by the economic fallout of the pandemic. Partners will also work with health and faith-based leaders to ensure vulnerable groups are engaged.

Response highlights

  • Some 3,200 COVID-19 affected households will be supported with cash and voucher programming to support basic needs and children’s access to education.

  • Representatives from local civil society organisations, faith-based organisations, disabled person’s organisations and LGBTQIA organisations will be trained on COVID-19 prevention and vaccine promotion, and involved in the production of community messaging. Public awareness campaigns will focus on vaccine acceptance, combating misinformation, and encouraging preventative behaviours.

  • Volunteers will identify vulnerable individuals in their communities, including people with disabilities, pregnant women, the LGBTQIA community and those over the age of 60, and assist them with logistics as well as psychosocial support to ensure they can access vaccination centres.

  • Livelihoods activities will focus on training opportunities, small business development and access to microfinance.