Indonesia faces challenging public healthcare service problems

20:08, May 21, 2010      

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With its vast territory and limited number of doctors and insufficient health infrastructure, Indonesia is facing challenging problems in providing health service for the public, said Nova Riyanti Yusuf, a legislator at Commission IX in the parliament that oversees the government's policies on health, manpower and transmigration issues.

"In Indonesia, there is estimated to be one doctor for each 10, 000 people. This is a concerning figure as in other countries in the region a doctor serves only 20,000 people," Nova told Xinhua on the sidelines of a health symposium held on Thursday.

She added the lack of doctor's availability is worsened by the campus regulation that obliges medical students to take public health service in remote areas for such a long period of time before they graduate.

"The competence test for medical students to become a doctor hinders the efforts to provide more doctors for the people. We will discuss it with related ministries regarding this issue," Nova said, adding that the availability of doctors is an essential requirement to secure the public access to healthcare.

This situation is worsened by greater autonomy in administering the region awarded by central to regional administrators that sometimes made the central government hardly able to assure that all of its policies were implemented correctly in the regions, she said.

Related to this issue, Nova also said that the commission she works at is discussing plan to set up an agency particularly tasked to provide social guarantee for the people proposed by the government.

Among the tasks of the agency, called Social Guarantee Organizer Body (Badan Penyelenggara Jaminan Sosial/BPJS), is to provide health insurance to the public by allocating medical payments for those who treated in hospitals.

"The establishment of the agency is expected to provide, at least, medical expense schemes for basic diseases examination, such as malaria with operation would cover throughout the country," Nova said.

She, however, said that due to the insufficient medical infrastructure, that includes the number of hospitals and medical equipments in the regions, the operation of the BPJS would likely be effective in 2014.

With 1,320 state and private hospitals in the country, the hospital treatment ration in Indonesia was one bed for every 1,580 people, according the data issued by the health ministry in 2008.

In the mean time, Nova said that before the BPJS operation comes into force, the Indonesian health ministry has issued strategic plan for 2005-2009 period, which emphasized the vision of "self-reliant communities to pursue health living" and the ministry's mission to make people healthy is focused on mobilization and community empowerment, improvement of community access to quality care services, surveillance and monitoring as well as an increase in health financing.

In its 2010-2014 national health development, the government has set target to reduce infant mortality rate from 34 to 24 per 1, 000 live births, and 23 per 1,000 live births by 2015.

Besides that, the government also sets target to reduce maternal mortality from 228 to 118 per 100,000 live births in the same period and 102 per 100,000 live births by 2015, when the MDGs ends its period.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:祁澍文)

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