Medical Facilities in Several Regions are Still Limited

Many Community Health Centers, which are the main place for medical treatment for the underprivileged, are still limited. Not to mention, the facilities and infrastructure in each Community Health Centers are not evenly distributed.

Humanity Medical Service
Illustration. The team of ACT’s Humanity Medical Service provides health services for underprivileged people. (ACTNews)

ACTNews, JAKARTA – Medical service is very important for the community. However, many medical facilities are limited in several regions in Indonesia. One of them is the Community Health Center (puskesmas). Many health facilities are not evenly distributed.

Based on data from the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Indonesia in 2019, the number of health centers in Indonesia was 10,134, with a ratio of 1: 16,000. This means, with a population of around 270.2 million at that time, ideally, Indonesia would have 16,875 health centers. The distribution of community health centers is also very uneven. Some areas in Indonesia still find it difficult to find a health center. West Papua, for example, has a health center ratio of only 0.28 or 5 times below the national standard rate of 1.40 at that time.

The limited number of community health centers will certainly have an impact on the welfare of the community. The underprivileged people will find it difficult and are very forced to go to private clinics which cost more.

The problem with the community health center is not only in the number and distribution but also in facilities and infrastructure. Based on data from the Ministry of National Development Planning of the Republic of Indonesia (KPPN) together with the National Development Planning Agency (IBRA), there were still many health centers with limited facilities and infrastructure in 2019. This disrupted the daily operational services.

For example, several community health centers still lack communication tools. Based on data, around 16 percent of community health centers do not have communication tools such as telephones. Two percent of community health centers have no electricity. Electricity is the main source of energy to power services, such as for cold chains, autoclaving, or operating computers used to create recording and reporting systems.

Midwife Zul conducts health checks and distributes blood-boosting tablets to teenagers at Kampung Naga Junior High School, Mata Wae Village, Sano Nggoang, West Manggarai Regency. (Private documentation)

The supply of clean water, which is essential in any medical facility, is still limited in several community health centers. About 24 percent of community health centers in Indonesia do not yet have access to water and sanitation services. Meanwhile, more than two-thirds or around 72 percent of community health centers do not have handwashing facilities with soap in three rooms, namely the general consultation room, immunization room, and delivery room.

Apart from that, there are still insufficient medicines and vaccines at the community health center. Sometimes, the community health center will prescribe drugs to the patients, and ask these patients to buy at pharmacies or drug stores at their own expense. These conditions, of course, result in an additional burden on the patient in terms of time, cost, and energy.

Aksi Cepat Tanggap, once interviewed a midwife in West Manggarai, East Nusa Tenggara. At that time, Zul Indarwansyah (29) told that in Kampung Naga, Mata Wae Village, Sano Nggoang, West Manggarai Regency, East Nusa Tenggara, a mother was forced to give birth in the forest because it took a long time to reach the nearest health facility.

Doctor Arini gives a gift to students at an elementary school in Asmat Regency after socializing a clean lifestyle. (ACTNews)

“The mother was bleeding because the placenta had not come out. I put the IV in and cut off the placenta. Then took her to the community health center. The HB (hemoglobin) was also very low, and the pulse was also weak. However, Alhamdulillah, mom and the baby were saved,” said Zul, recalling the incident, when contacted by ACTNews at the end of last year.

Apart from midwife Zul, doctor Humanity Medical Services ACT Airini also said that in Asmat, a man asked her to treat his chipped fingernails. "'Sir, why don't you go to the puskesmas?" He replied,' why would I go to the community health center? There are no doctors at the community health center,” said doctor Arini, telling ACTNews, last year. According to doctor Arini, she could handle two to three patients in the Sirets District. Asmat Regency, Papua. Doctor Arini hopes that Indonesia can improve its health facilities and provide the best health services for its people. []