Indonesia’s mega health care spending in time for 2014 deadline

universal healthcare in Indonesia

Indonesia’s government will spend millions of dollars over the coming year to implement universal healthcare by 2014.

The world’s fourth most populous nation is in a race to deliver universal health care by 2014. This is triggering major spending on health care provisions and reform, creating opportunities for the private sector.

The Indonesian government is committing billions of dollars to providing healthcare to its 240 million citizens by January 1st 2014. This investment, along with economic gains boosting Indonesians’ spending power, is driving demand for health services, pharmaceuticals and a need for more medical professionals.

The establishment of universal health care has meant the formation of a new Social Security Management Agency (BPJS). This will combine existing public health insurance schemes and extend them to include those who are uninsured. Once this scheme is in place it will be the world’s biggest single payer system, currently the UK’s NHS holds this title. Canada and Australia have similar universal health care systems.

Indonesia currently lags behind its Asian neighbours in numbers of hospitals beds and doctors. There are currently six hospital beds for 10,000 people in Indonesia, compared to Thailand’s 21 per 10,000 and 18 in Malaysia. To meet its targets the government will need to add 150,000 hospital beds by 2014, an increase of 30 percent.

Indonesia will also have to increase the number of doctors currently employed in the country, the ratio currently stands at three physicians for 10,000 people. This is below India’s six and Malaysia’s nine per 10,000 people. There is a shortage of medical graduates, and a brain drain, where many doctors leave the country to work predominantly in Malaysia where the pay and facilities are better.

The ambitious health reforms will create a huge universal health system, providing many opportunities for the private sector. Rising demand for health services will mean business for pharmaceutical companies and equipment manufacturers.