Sunday, 25 September 2022 | 22:25 WIB

Health Ministry Set to Use Antigen RDT as Epidemiology Research

COVID-19 Vaccination Spokesperson from the Ministry of Health, Dr. Siti Nadia Tarmizi M. Epid (kemkes)

JAKARTA, NETRALNEWS.COM - The Indonesian government, through the Ministry of Health, has set the use of Antigen Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) as one of the methods for COVID-19 contact tracing, diagnose, and screening in particular conditions.

It is done to improve the Testing and Tracing effort as a part of epidemiology research and contact tracing process for cutting the COVID-19 contagion chain.

This was declared in the Minister of Health Decision Number HK.01.07/MENKES/446/2021 on Rapid Diagnostic Test Antigen in COVID-19 Examination.

The COVID-19 Vaccination Spokesperson from the Ministry of Health, Dr. Siti Nadia Tarmizi M. Epid, said the Antigen Rapid Test is provided in public health centres. The central government and local governments are responsible for this implementation.

Nadia emphasized how this Antigen Rapid Test is used only for contact tracing. The Antigen Rapid Tests, which are provided by the government for free for the citizens through the public health centres, are used only for epidemiology research.

There is also Antigen RDT which is used as the travel requirement for people inside the country. The requirement is based on the Circular Letter by the Task Force of COVID-19 Handling.

"This Antigen Rapid Test is used for epidemiology matter, which means it is for diagnose," she said in a recent online press conference.

The results of Antigen RDT examination will be noted and reported as confirmed positive cases, which is similar to PCR Test result. However, in the reporting system, the result from Antigen RDT and PCR RT will be separated.

"The use of Antigen Rapid Test must pay attention to several criteria: selection, use, examination facilities and staff, note and report, quality assurance inspection, and waste management inspection," Dr. Nadia.

Regarding the use criteria, for instance, the examination of Antigen Rapid Test can be done in acute phase or in the first seven days after the symptoms appear. It will improve the test performance, she adds.

For the case tracing effort, the Ministry of Health is working with the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) and the Indonesian National Police (Polri) for tracing to all over villages, districts/cities, neighborhoods in seven provinces of Java and Bali which implements the micro-scale Enforcement of Restriction on Public Activities. Before they work in their own field, Babinsa, Babinpotmar, and Babinpot Dirga will receive training to be COVID-19 tracers.

There is a possibility for the Antigen Rapid Test examination to increase the number of cases. Therefore, she asks all citizens not to get panicked. It is better to know the real data so that the right handling strategy can be done.

The government also has prepared several things: increasing hospital capacity, adding service hours, monitoring the availability of drugs and health equipment in the hospitals, and adding the number of health workers and vaccinators.