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Papua Health Crisis Prompts International Scrutiny, Internal Review

Twin crises of measles and malnutrition have recently afflicted Indonesia’s easternmost province, Papua, inciting foreign and media scrutiny as well as internal review from the Indonesian government. Papua is an impoverished but mineral-rich province with a history of separatist struggle, which has been quashed for decades by the Indonesian military. This week, the nation’s health ministry declared both crises to be under control, but 72 people have already died in Asmat regency. In wake of the outbreaks, finance minister Sri Mulyani said that special autonomy funding for the province would be reevaluated. Per a 2001 law, the sometimes-contested provinces of Aceh, Papua, and West Papua were authorized to receive twenty years of special funding from the national budget. But Mulyani said the public health issues showed that the money was not being used well. “This is a lesson for us, because throughout this time the special autonomy funds have been...

 

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