The Health Ministry will use its increased budgetary allocation of Rp 31.2 trillion (US$3.27 billion), which it is due to receive for the 2013 fiscal year, to make improvements to the primary health care system ahead of the implementation on Jan. 1, 2014 of the Social Security Providers (BPJS) Law.
Health Minister Nafsiah Mboi said that improving health care facilities and health workers’ skills would be the main focus for the ministry in preparing for the BPJS implementation.
“Many community health centers are seriously lacking,” she told journalists after the Independence Day flag-raising ceremony at the ministry on Friday.
According to the ministry's data, 1,937 community health centers across the country are inadequate and should be modernized as soon as possible.
“We will repair any damaged facilities and, at the same time, seek to ensure that health workers have the necessary skills to offer medical services to all Indonesian citizens under the BPJS scheme,” Nafsiah said.
Earlier this month, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had said that the initial investment for the BPJS may require more than Rp 25 trillion.
The BPJS, which is expected to provide a quality and affordable health care system for the country’s entire population, is mandated by the 2011 BPJS Law, which was passed by legislators following protracted debate.
According to the ministry, some 47 percent of the country’s population has yet to be covered by any health scheme.
In addition to the initial BPJS investment, Nafsiah added that the availability of affordable medicines was another concern.
Despite its herculean task in preparing for the BPJS, the ministry will receive less financial support than others, such as the Religious Affairs Ministry, which will receive Rp 41.7 trillion of state budget funding.
The Health Ministry's secretary-general, Ratna Rosita Supandji, said the ministry needed to work hard to oversee the budget allocation since more than 80 percent of it would be directly distributed to regional governments around the country.
“We have 1,183 working units at both central and regional levels. I must acknowledge that it is a little hard to keep tight controls over the financial management in those units,” she said.
Ratna was convinced, however, that her ministry would try its best to keep tabs on the budget allocation for health facilities. (lfr)