ASIA NEWS NETWORK
WE KNOW ASIA BETTER
Housewives call for fair health access in Java
Publication Date : 28-02-2013
Hundreds of housewives and their children staged a protest outside the Depok municipality office in Indonesia's Java, on Wednesday over the implementation of the administration’s healthcare (Jamkesda) programme, which they perceived to be unfairly distributed.
The residents, as part of the Depok Residents Health Council (DKR Depok), said at least 180,000 poor residents had yet to receive their Jamkesda cards that would give them access to free healthcare at several hospitals and clinics - both public and private-owned.
They said that since the programme was launched early last year, those individuals on the priority list for the distribution of the cards were members of the municipality’s family welfare movement (PKK) program, which is chaired by the mayor’s wife.
“We want Mayor Nur Mahmudi Ismail to straighten things up and not let these problems go unsolved. We are residents and we are aware of our civic rights,” said Maryati, a resident of Sawangan, who joined the protest together with her children and grandchildren.
The protest turned chaotic as the police pushed people away from trying to climb the locked gate of the mayor’s office. No officials met with protesters.
Idupyati said that she had been a resident in Pancoran Mas for 15 years but had not received her Jamkesda card. As a wife of a cleaning service worker, she said the family could not afford medical expenses.
“We don’t understand how to register for the card. We usually go to the community health centre if we fall ill, but when doctors say we must go to hospital for further treatment, we prefer to stay at home because we don’t have the money to pay for it,” she said.
DKR Depok coordinator Roy Pangharapan said the difficult access faced by poor residents was due to a limited budget allocated by the administration to the Jamkesda programme.
This year, he said, the administration had only allotted 18 billion Indonesian rupiah (US$1.85 million) for health programmes out of a total 1.7 trillion rupiah budget. The amount was less than the budget allocated to the programme last year, which amounted to 29 billion rupiah.
“The 2009 Health Law regulates that the regional administration must allocate 10 per cent of its budget to health programmes. Depok should have a 170 billion rupiah budget for its health programmes alone,” said Roy.
Depok General Hospital director Lies Karmawati acknowledged that the hospital could not provide a satisfying service to Jamkesda cardholders due to limited facilities. The hospital only has 36 in-patient rooms and is not equipped with any intensive care unit facilities.
“We’ve received 9 billion rupiah from this year’s administration budget to expand the hospital. We will add 80 rooms, 60 of which will be dedicated for the Class III service covered by Jamkesda. We have requested help from the Health Ministry to upgrade the hospital,” she said.