Jakarta: Indonesian Health Minister Advocates for Swift Production of Specialist Doctors

Jakarta (ANTARA) - In a strategic move to address the medical workforce imbalance, Indonesia's Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin has advocated for the accelerated production of specialist doctors across the country. Speaking in Jakarta on Monday, the minister highlighted the current production rate of doctors in Indonesia, which he believes is not keeping pace with the nation's population growth.

According to Antara News Agency, the Indonesian government is facing challenges in ensuring an adequate number of specialist doctors for the new capital city, Nusantara (IKN), despite significant efforts to develop medical facilities in the area. "I have participated in groundbreaking ceremonies of four hospitals in IKN. Everyone is confident that the development of the hospitals will complete in July (of 2024). However, it is still difficult to find the doctors, especially those having specialties," he stated.

The minister's concerns were further underscored by his recent visit to the Sepaku Regional Public Hospital at the IKN development site, where he noted the absence of anesthesia specialists, surgical specialists, and orthopedic specialists. This shortage has necessitated the transfer of patients to hospitals in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, which are three to four hours away from IKN, for necessary treatments.

In response to this situation, the minister revealed the implementation of a hospital-based specialist medical education program aimed at encouraging 300 type A and type B hospitals to expedite the production of specialist doctors. He expressed confidence that this initiative would help to mitigate the issues of uneven distribution of specialist doctors across Indonesia. The goal, as stated by the minister, is for Indonesia to produce more than 30,000 doctors annually.

The program, prioritizing the education of employees at related hospitals, is designed to equip these institutions with the specialist doctors they need. It also offers more affordable educational activities. Moreover, the Indonesian government is considering following India's approach of sending national doctors to study abroad. Minister Sadikin proposed the idea of transferring Indonesian doctors to work in overseas hospitals and vice versa, aiming to foster competition between Indonesian and foreign doctors, thereby enhancing their competencies.