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Health system in Indonesia

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A high standard of medical care is often not readily available in Indonesia — especially if you have a critical illness or a serious medical emergency for which specialist knowledge or equipment is required. Read this article to find out more about how you can protect yourself and your family while living in the country.

Medical infrastructure has long been a major issue for Indonesia. The Indonesian healthcare system has traditionally been divided between private insurance schemes for those who had money, and basic state provision for the poor, with a lot of support from NGOs in between. However, in January 2014, the country launched a compulsory health insurance scheme — Jaminan Kesehata Nasional (JKN) — that aims to make basic medical treatment and facilities available to all citizens by 2019.

Under JKN, the idea is that all citizens should be able to access a wide range of health services provided by public facilities, as well as services from a few private organisations that have opted to join the scheme. However, the premiums on these government mandated insurance schemes are quite low, and the influx of Indonesians with serious medical troubles who have received care since its implementation have put a further strain on the country's medical facilities.

Unfortunately, this national scheme hasn't achieved the success anticipated, and Indonesia is still severely lacking in quality healthcare options. Locals and expatriates in rural areas still need to make long journeys to larger cities in order to receive much of the medical care they need. And outside of major medical facilities in large metropolitan areas, many medical practitioners are not able to speak English proficiently.

Health insurance in Indonesia

Indonesia requires foreigners living in the country to purchase an insurance plan from an insurer that is compliant with Indonesian law. Requirements of the national healthcare scheme state that a formally employed individual’s insurance premium should be 5% of their income: 1% paid by the employee and 4% by the employer.

As a general rule, those on an expat package will generally be provided with additional private insurance that will also include family members. However, you should consult your employer about the specifics of the plan and any additional coverage that your company provides before moving to Indonesia, to ensure that you will be suitably protected.

An international health insurance plan is advisable for expatriates, as this will cover you no matter where you travel to while living in Indonesia. Under certain plans, you will have your choice of virtually any hospital or doctor.

 Good to know:

It is a good idea to purchase a plan with medical evacuation coverage so that you can be taken to appropriate medical facilities if your nearest hospital isn't able to address a specific health issue. This is very important when living in Indonesia, as many foreign professionals opt to travel to nearby countries (such as Singapore, Malaysia or Thailand) for medical attention, due to the inadequacies of the Indonesian healthcare system.

Health risks in Indonesia

There are a number of disease risks in the country of which expatriates should be aware, but many health issues are often avoidable by taking preventative measures. The prevalence of many diseases is caused by poor hygiene so, when eating street food, for example, it is advisable to ensure that your meal is cooked thoroughly; and when drinking water, be sure to always drink bottled water that you can see if it was properly sealed.

There have been reports of polio outbreaks in Java and Sumatra in recent years, so it is advisable that you obtain a polio vaccine before visiting these areas and ensure that you are up-to-date with all of your inoculations.

When living in Indonesia, you are at risk of malaria, dengue fever, and the zika virus, so try to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes by wearing long sleeves and trousers in the evening, and spraying effective repellents (you can find natural and organic sprays in many pharmacies across Indonesia). It is also important to never have stagnant water in your accommodation, and it's worth turning on a fan to keep mosquitoes away.

Rabies still exists in the country and street dogs are common, so it's best to avoid contact with all unknown animals and seek immediate medical attention if you’re scratched or bitten.

In the dry season, which is from May to November, forest fires can cause increased air pollution, and the smoke can have a negative impact on your health. Consider wearing a face mask during this time and contacting a medical practitioner if you have any breathing issues.

Healthcare institutions in Indonesia

Jakarta has many of the country’s best-equipped public facilities, but be aware that no public hospitals have international accreditation.

It is a good idea to, therefore, try to locate your nearest International SOS or Global Doctor as soon as you arrive in Indonesia. These are two of the most notable healthcare institutions for expats, and by finding your closest clinic beforehand, you'll know where to go if you ever need medical care. Global Doctor even provides teleconference consultations with doctors in Australia.

Another popular private hospital option is Medistra, which has numerous out-patient clinics and can also offer good in-patient services.

What to do in an emergency

If you ever need emergency medical assistance in Indonesia, you can dial 118 for an ambulance, but due to traffic in some of the big cities, it can sometimes be better to simply make your own way to a nearby private clinic or hospital. You can then contact your insurance company if you need treatment.

 Important:

Indonesia is known to have had its fair share of natural disasters, including earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis. In the event of a natural disaster, it's important to follow all government directions for protection.

 Useful links:

Ministry of Health
International SOS
Global doctor

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.
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