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Pinning higher hopes on the Health Bill

Jakarta (ANTARA) – Dozens of patients patiently await their turn to be examined at one of the outpatient polyclinics at the Pasar Minggu Hospital.In general, health services in Jakarta are currently far better than in other regions, indicating that the patients’ queue was not too long. However, there is still a need to improve health services nationwide, as several public health centers (puskesmas) in certain regions only have doctors available on certain days. In addition, some patients have to travel for hours to receive services from doctors. The ratio of doctors to the population in Indonesia is not ideal, standing at 0.42 doctors per one thousand population, compared to the World Health Organization (WHO)’s ideal ratio of one doctor per one thousand population. One of the factors that may lead to the lack of doctors is the difficulty of obtaining the registration certificate (STR) and practice license (SIP) from professional organizations. This concern has led some doctors to create the STR Fighter Doctor Forum and Diaspora (Doctor Having Difficulty in Practicing) as a symbol of their struggle. Pharmaceutical workers and nurses also face similar issues, where difficulty receiving competency acknowledgement from professional organizations has resulted in several graduates being unable to apply their knowledge immediately. To ensure patient safety, doctors and health workers have to undergo a lengthy process before applying their knowledge, even though several doctors are ready to provide services. Solution The Health Bill is expected to be the solution to address these issues, especially those related to the issuance of STR and SIP by professional organizations. Nine organizations within the Indonesian Health Worker Coalition (KTKI) support the Health Bill, which includes the removal of SIP and creating STR for a lifetime, similar to national identity cards (KTP). The nine organizations are the Indonesian Doctor Association (PDSI); Indonesian Pharmacist Association (PASI); Indonesian Pharmacists Unite (FIB); STR Fighter Doctor Forum; The Diaspora; Indonesian Education and Health Service Observer Team; Indonesian Nurse Observer Institution (LPPI); Indonesian Pharmacy Community (MFI) and Unity of Action Fighting for a Strong Pharmacist Profession (KAMPAK). KTKI also supports the policy that there should not be a single health worker organization, allowing health workers to choose the best organization to realize public and health services. KTKI’s spokesperson, Erfen Gustiawan, expressed his support for Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin to immediately issue the Health Bill. This step is aligned with supporting and tackling the struggles encountered by doctors and health workers throughout this time. In accordance with the suggestions in the Health Bill, STR will be created for a lifetime, similar to KTP, and the removal of SIP, which is also applied in several other countries. The KTKI highlighted that the country stands to lose almost Rp160 trillion (around US$10.7 billion) worth of foreign exchange in the health sector if the issues faced by health workers are not fixed. In relation to this, the KTKI also supports the policy stating that there should not be a single health worker organization, so that health workers can choose the best organization to realize public and health services. Meanwhile, Chairperson of PDSI Jajang Edi Priyanto stated the existence of the Health Bill supported the struggles of doctors and made them feel less alone. For PDSI, regulations for doctors who graduated overseas are also necessary, so that they receive equal treatment when they start practicing in Indonesia. The Health Bill is expected to be able to accommodate such matters to improve domestic health services. Innovation The existence of a new Health Bill is also expected to address health workers’ constraints in conducting innovations in health. This aims to prevent imported health products from flooding Indonesian markets. The head of PASI Mufti Djusnir stated that thus far, there is no law that protects pharmacists, and existence of the Health Law is expected to allow pharmacists to play greater roles. In relation to imported products, PASI expects that with the existence of the Health Law, pharmacists can contribute to giving direction to prevent drug abuse. Djusnir also said that ever since the country’s independence, medicines in Indonesia have been able to compete with those of foreign countries. With regard to medications, pharmacists play a vital role in providing recommendations for contraindications and side effects, including for imported products. Meanwhile, Chairperson of Indonesian Pharmacists Unite Merry Patrilinila expects that the bill simplifies pharmacists’ practice and eliminates the imposition of costs that have been burdensome so far. These costs have existed ever since pharmacists started out in their career, leaving them no choice but to comply with them. It should be acknowledged that several earlier centered policies have compelled many medical or pharmacy graduates to end their career and seek out different professions that they have worked on throughout this time. Meanwhile, Indonesia currently needs a policy to create adequate services in the health sector. The presence of this Health Bill is expected to provide answers to accommodate the needs of health workers and offer optimal services to the public.

Source:Antara News Agency

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