The Jakarta Post
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has said that the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed problems in the country's health care, including its pharmaceutical ingredients and medical equipment.
"The pandemic has allowed us to see potential resources that we have not yet managed and developed well," Jokowi said in his opening remarks in a virtual speech at the National Development Planning Conference on Thursday.
"For example, 95 percent of raw materials for the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry are still imported. [We are seeing] what medical equipment we manufacture domestically and what we import. We can see everything now," he added.
Jokowi said Indonesia was dealing with several infectious diseases that required special treatment, such as tuberculosis.
"We're among the top three countries with the largest number of tuberculosis cases after India and China. Do we have the [proper] facilities and beds at the hospitals?" he said.
Indonesia’s ratio of hospital beds per 1,000 people was lower than many other countries, the President explained.
"We only have 1.2 beds per 1,000 residents, far behind other countries such as India with 2.7 beds per 1,000 residents, China with 4.3 beds per 1,000 people and Japan with the highest number of hospital beds per 1,000 people at 13," he said.
"What about the labs, its equipment and its manpower? Or the ratio of health workers, doctors, specialists, nurses? We need to calculate everything.”
The COVID-19 pandemic had also shed light on the importance of health security, Jokowi said.
"We've now seen the importance of health security for the future. [...] We're facing extraordinary challenges because, of all 213 countries, there is no country in the world that is really ready [to face the pandemic]," he said.
"I believe with strong cooperation between the central and regional governments we can mitigate the impacts of this global pandemic. Vulnerable groups could be well protected and we could navigate this storm safely.”