IDEP Foundation

Reaching More Persons with Disabilities, Australia-Indonesia Partnership Holds Inclusive COVID-19 Vaccination Services at the 2023 Bali Art Festival of Disabilities

BALI, 9 January 2023 – Even though the number of cases infected with COVID-19 is starting to show a sloping trend, vigilance and anticipation of this virus must still be a shared priority. Because the ability to mutate this virus is still a severe threat, as revealed by the Director General of Bina Adwil Ministry of Home Affairs, Safrizal, in December 2022, the Omicron XBB subvariant has become one of the factors in the increase in the number of active cases in Indonesia. In addition to the extension of PPKM until today (9/1), one of the anticipatory steps that can be continued is the COVID-19 vaccination which is inclusive for all groups, including groups of people with disabilities.

To anticipate COVID-19, the Australia Indonesia Partnership Program for Health Resilience (AIHSP) through Save the Children Indonesia (SCI) and the IDEP Selaras Alam Foundation (IDEP) are working with the Bunga Bali Foundation to open a COVID-19 vaccination center at the Bali Disability Art Work Festival 2023. The festival, held on 9 January 2023, take place at the Bali Flower Foundation office in Kesiman Kertalangu, Denpasar City.

Several persons with disabilities who attended the Bali Disability Art Festival were waiting in line before being vaccinated

In this festival, persons with disabilities present various traditional and contemporary art performances, ranging from dance, music, and singing to poetry readings. These performers are a group that several organizations and communities, such as the Bunga Bali Foundation, Pertuni, Gerkatin, HWDI, PPDI, and others, have accompanied.

Apart from art performances, this festival is also filled with COVID-19 vaccination activities and blood donations. The vaccination itself takes place from 16.00 – 17.30 WITA. This vaccination center targets vaccination doses 1, 2, and 3 (first booster) for event attendees, most of whom are persons with disabilities.

The vaccination center managed in collaboration with health workers from the East Denpasar Health Center II, is part of the Bali Province COVID-19 Inclusive Vaccination Acceleration Program (VACCINE) being worked on by AIHSP, SCI, and IDEP. In general, this inclusive vaccination program specifically targets vulnerable groups, especially the elderly and persons with disabilities and other vulnerable groups.

With the vaccinations held during this festival, access to vaccines for persons with disabilities is more open and accessible, so more and more persons with disabilities are now receiving vaccines according to their needs. “With the arrival of the vaccine at this festival, I feel very helped and very grateful because my vaccine is complete,” said Nyoman Sariani, one of the disabled people who received the Dose 3 (booster) vaccine during the festival.

This 45-year-old woman also revealed that the vaccination activity, which was held in conjunction with the disability festival, was a form of mutual assistance in the health sector. “Like me, the vaccine is from incomplete to complete. And this benefit is felt by everyone, not just me. This festival gave birth to togetherness because those who came could only have vaccines. Remembering that health is also important for everyone,” said Nyoman Sariani.

Persons with disabilities attending the Bali Disability Artwork Festival

Met on different occasions, the Program Director of the Australia Indonesia Partnership for Health Resilience (AIHSP), John Leigh, stressed the importance of solid collaboration from various parties to ensure the success of efforts to equalize access to COVID-19 vaccinations and other health services in the future.

“In the future, the multi-stakeholder collaboration will be able to encourage other efforts to close disparities in access to health services, especially those that are more sensitive to the needs of vulnerable groups, towards a stronger Indonesian health resilience system.”

From July to 8 December 2022, the COVID-19 vaccinations carried out by AIHSP through Save the Children, and IDEP have reached 5,789 injections, 289 of which are vaccinations that people with disabilities have received. By opening up more and more inclusive access and vaccine services, it is hoped that the VACCINE program will support the Government of Indonesia’s goals to improve the health resilience system and create a healthy society, including preventing the potential risk of transmission of COVID-19 during the year-end holidays.

Article: Hamzah

Photo: Denni Rajagukguk © AIHSP & Hamzah © IDEP Foundation