Nine months since COVID-19 pandemic has hit Indonesia, the country continues to see a surge in new cases. As the pandemic rages on, handwashing with soap routine is echoed more intensively as a critical measure to curb the COVID-19 cases, in addition to wearing mask and physical distancing.
Yet, handwashing with soap remains a luxury for many Indonesians. Only around 76 percent of the population in the country has access to handwashing with soap facilities (Indonesia Statistics, 2019). Many of the Indonesians who do not have access to the facilities live in densely populated urbans.
As such, this situation could put many Indonesians at increased risks of contracting COVID-19 and other contagious diseases.
In order to assist Indonesia to keep COVID-19 under control, the U.S. Government through USAID Indonesia and IUWASH PLUS collaborate with the local governments in nine densely populated areas to provide handwashing with soap stations.
Those areas are Medan, Deli Serdang, Depok, Surabaya, Sidoarjo, Malang cities, Bogor, Gresik districts, and DKI Jakarta. A total of 250 handwashing with soap stations were installed gradually in public places in these regions, such as schools, markets, and community health centers.
On September 10, 2020, the U.S. Charge d’Affaires, Mrs. Heather Variava, acting on behalf of the U.S. Government, handed over the handwashing with soap facilities to the Governance Assistant of Bogor district, Mr. Renaldi Yushab Fiansyah, as the representative of the Bogor district government and community. This handover was held in a ceremony run jointly by USAID Indonesia and the district government with supports from USAID IUWASH PLUS.
In her speech, Mrs. Heather Variava pointed out that everyone plays important roles to cut the COVID-19 transmission by applying #3MPlus (Indonesian hashtag for “wearing mask, physical distancing, handwashing with soap plus improving access to water and sanitation”).
Reinforcing the message from Mrs. Heather Variava, the Governance Assistant of Bogor district, Mr. Fiansyah, said , “we have great expectation that, when the pandemic ends, the handwashing with soap habit will make the community healthier.”
Prior to this ceremony, the USAID Mission Director, Mr. Ryan Washburn, observed the use of the handwashing with soap stations in Rusunawa (low cost rented apartment) Marunda in DKI Jakarta on July 16, 2020.
In his visit, Mr. Washburn highlighted that the seemingly simple idea of washing hands can have the greatest impact on public health and help stem the transmission of COVID-19.
“I am delighted with these handwashing with soap stations [provided by the U.S. government– ed]. More handwashing with soap stations are available now so that we can wash our hands more frequently,” said Tri Yuni Maya Sari, a beneficiary in Rusunawa Marunda.
Thanks to the supports from the U.S Government and local governments, all 250 handwashing with soap stations were installed in September 2020.
Available in Indonesia (Indonesian)