A 4-Month Old Baby Girl Has Died Allegedly Due To The Haze
A four-month old baby has allegedly died due to exposure to haze from the forest and land fires in Sumatra on Sunday, 15 September
According to CNN Indonesia, the parents of the infant named Elsa Pitaloka sought treatment at a regional hospital because she was experiencing shortness of breath from the day before.
The village where she lived, Talang Buluh, in Banyuasin district, has been shrouded in toxic haze for several weeks, affecting some 800 households.
The regional hospital medical personnel were unable to treat Elsa because they did not have the proper breathing equipment, so she was referred to Ar-Rasyid Hospital in Palembang for treatment.
Sadly, by around 6.30pm on Sunday, Elsa succumbed to her illness.
"The specialist said that it's likely to be an acute respiratory infection, maybe from bacteria, but we don't know because there hasn't been a thorough medical examination yet," said Agus Darwanto, a Talang Buluh village official who assisted Elsa's family in seeking treatment for the baby.
"Elsa was born healthy and normal, she had no disorders and her breathing problem came out of nowhere," he added.
Elsa was later diagnosed with pneumonia, an infection that causes inflammation in the air pockets in the lungs
M. Hakim, who is the head of the Banyuasin District Health Office, explained that pneumonia can be caused by breathing harmful air that contain smoke particles.
"We urge citizens to wear masks because the air is not healthy and there is also a lot of smog," he said.
At least 20,000 known citizens have developed upper respiratory tract infections (URTI) due to the haze in Indonesia
According to Kompas, in addition to causing low visibility and canceling aircraft schedules, the haze has also created health problems for affected populations in Sumatra and Kalimantan.
South Kalimantan Health Office head HM Muslim told Kompas that the number of sufferers have increased the most from August to mid-September.
Meanwhile in Malaysia, there has been a 30% to 40% increase in patients seeking medical treatment at government health clinics nationwide because of the haze
As reported by Free Malaysia Today, Deputy Health Minister Dr. Lee Boon Chye said the rate of increase was based on those seeking treatment at 22 selected government health clinics nationwide during the past week compared to the week before.
He said the patients had sought treatment for URTI, conjunctivitis, and acute asthma attacks.
URTI includes symptoms such as cold, runny nose, sore or scratchy throat, and painful swallowing.
"If you are going outdoors, please wear an N95 mask to protect yourself. Surgical masks would not do as it would not filter out micro particles. The micro particles are causing harm, not the smell of the air," Lee told reporters at the Penang Hospital today.
"We urge children and the elderly to stay indoors as much as possible and take extra precaution," he added.