Dengue fever outbreak sweeps across Indonesia

By March 26, 2004

Indonesia (MNN) — Compassion International is asking believers around the world to pray for their program in Indonesia. Disease has not only struck the country, but it’s hit children in their child sponsorship program.

Compassion International’s Child Development Specialist Rebeca Harcharik says, “Since January 1st of this year there’s been an outbreak of dengue fever in Indonesia. Overall in the country there’s been a little less than 35,000 cases reported. In Compassion assisted children there’s been about 60 children affected, and unfortunately two children have died.”

The Indonesia Health Ministry reports most of the cases have been found in Jakarta, but central Java recorded the highest casualty rate. Harcharik says while the peek of the outbreak seems to have passed, precautions are being taken by Compassion families to prevent the disease. “Educating the parents of the children, so that they can do changes around their house to prevent mosquitoes from biting their children,” says Harcharik.

Dengue fever is transmitted by mosquitoes. Symptoms include fever, painful headaches, eye, joint and muscle pain and rash. Occasionally, individuals with dengue fever experience blood-clotting problems. When this occurs, the illness is called dengue hemorrhagic fever.

Harcharik says sponsor families are needed to help more children. She says, “One of the benefits that Compassion children receive is medical assistance. Even when you don’t have a crisis like one like this, children still get a visit from the doctor and have regular checkups. For a situation like this, they’re already benefiting from the medical attention the already get, they just get more attention.

Since Compassion International is a Christian ministry, they also hear the Gospel. Harcharik says, “The staff that work with children receive training and they are Christians themselves. They would definitely use this as an opportunity to share God’s love and His mercy and inspire them in that sense.”

It costs just $28 a month a sponsor a child. You can find out more about this by going to their web site at or call them at (800) 336-7676.

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