Indonesia Loses $6.8b as People Go Overseas for Medical Treatment: President

President Joko Widodo attends the groundbreaking ceremony of Bali International Hospital in Sanur, Denpasar Bali, on December 27, 2021. (Twitter @jokowi)

Jakarta. Indonesia loses Rp 97 trillion or about $6.8 billion with millions of people favoring to receive their medical treatment overseas, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo said on Monday. The shocking statistics have prompted Indonesia to construct a world-class hospital in tourist paradise Bali.

“At least 2 million Indonesians go overseas for medical treatment every year, whether it is to Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, or the US and we lose Rp 97 trillion because of this,” Jokowi said at the groundbreaking ceremony of Bali International Hospital in Denpasar.

The hospital’s presence will make Bali a destination for medical tourism, according to Jokowi.

“This will increase [the number of] tourists coming to Bali. I hope that this [hospital] will bring in people [seeking medical treatment] from overseas as well,” Jokowi said.

Bali International Hospital will begin operating in 2023. This hospital runs in partnership with US medical center Mayo Clinic. 

A video shown during the groundbreaking ceremony revealed that Bali International Hospital would have 300 wards and 30 intensive care beds. The hospital's patient care standards, clinic protocols, management techniques will be similar to those of Mayo Clinic.

It will also include a nursing school and academic research center, among others. 

According to State-Owned Enterprise (SOE) Minister Erick Thohir, Bali International Hospital is part of Indonesia’s first health-dedicated special economic zone. This economic zone in Bali sits on SOE-owned land which spans about 41 hectares.

Panacea for Import
In his remarks, Jokowi called for no more imports in the health sector, be it pharmaceutical raw materials, medicines or medical equipment. 

“We have to stop importing these products. We have to produce them on our own here in this country,” the president said.

Erick revealed 95 percent of Indonesia’s pharmaceutical raw materials came from imports. 

In response, the government has mobilized a number of SOEs to help cut pharmaceutical imports. For instance, Indofarma will focus on building Indonesia’s herbal medicine industry, given Indonesia's country’s natural wealth and herbal culture. 

Kimia Farma has teamed up with Pertamina's refinery arm Kilang Pertamina Internasional (KPI) to build a paracetamol factory as a derivative of petrochemical products, namely benzene. The factory will have a capacity of 3,800 tons per annum.

“If combined, we hope we can reduce pharmaceutical raw material import from 95 percent to 75 percent in the next four years,” Erick said.

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