JAKARTA, Indonesia, March 22, 2004 - Officials with Compassion International today issued a call for prayer for the country of Indonesia after a dengue fever outbreak killed hundreds and sent thousands more seeking medical treatment.
"While the peak of the outbreak appears to have passed, this is a major health-related crisis for Indonesia," said Compassion International's Director of Country Operations Handoyo Petrus Nawawi. "The death rate is significantly higher than what we've experienced in the recent past.
More than 450 people have been killed as a result of the outbreak since January 1 and nearly 35,000 people have fallen ill. The Indonesian Health Ministry reports that most of the cases have been found in Jakarta, but central Java recorded the highest casualty rate.
The mosquito-borne disease, which is rampant in many tropical climates, causes fever, painful headaches, eye, joint and muscle pain and a rash. Occasionally, individuals with dengue fever experience blood-clotting problems. When this occurs, the illness is called dengue hemorrhagic fever.
The outbreak has also affected Compassion International's operations in Indonesia. More than 60 children have come down with the disease and two have died as a result. A third is in a local hospital receiving treatment, Nawawi said. Compassion ministry partners currently assist more than 31,600 children in Indonesia.
"We are asking Christians around the globe to join us in prayer that the effects of this epidemic will be minimized, not only for our children, but for all the people of Indonesia," Nawawi said.
"In the developed world a disease of this kind would not have this kind of dramatic impact," Compassion Child Development Specialist Rebeca Harcharik said. "Developed countries are able to take preventative measures and provide greater access to health care in the face of a crisis of this magnitude."
Compassion International is one of the world's largest and fastest-growing Christian child development organizations, working with more than 65 denominations and hundreds of indigenous church partners in Africa, Asia, Central and South America and the Caribbean. Since 1952, Compassion has touched the lives of more than a million children. To learn more about this revolutionary approach to child development, visit www.compassion.com or call (800) 336-7676.