Research centre REACH

Strengthening Indonesia’s health workforce through partnerships

Citation for this: Kurniati, A., Rosskam, E., Afzal, M. M., Suryowinoto, T. B., & Mukti, A. G. (2015). Strengthening Indonesia’s health workforce through partnershipspublic health129(9), 1138-1149.

Indonesia is one of the most populous countries in the world, with a population of 234 million. The country consists of approximately 17,000 islands, situated in a climatic disasterprone region of Asia. About 60% of the population lives on Java Island which covers only around 7% of the country’s total land area. The country is counted as a middle income country. 1) Because of Indonesia’s particular geographic, demographic, socio-cultural diversity, and economic situations, its health system faces serious challenges. After decentralization in 2001, the new health system is now empowering local governments to manage their health services, including the management of Human Resources for Health (HRH). 2) The Indonesian health system is facing critical HRH challenges. 3) The World Health Report 2006 included Indonesia as
one of 57 countries facing a crisis level shortage of HRH. 4) The HRH crisis level shortage impedes the progress that these countries can envisage for strengthening their health systems to be able to provide equitable access to essential and lifesaving primary health care services. The HRH shortages pose serious obstacles for attaining the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Universal Health Coverage (UHC). The most critical HRH challenges in Indonesia include: inadequate quantity and quality of some essential cadres, mismatch between production and demand, and maldistribution
between urban, rural, and remote areas. Deficient information hampers HRH policy development and planning efforts. Other challenges include poor retention strategies, particularly due to low levels of remuneration. 5) Indonesia’s average number of HRH per 100,000 population is below the minimum threshold level required for effective achievement of the health-related MDGs and UHC. 6) The Health System Performance Assessment 2004 indicated that Indonesia suffers from mal-distribution and a shortage of certain kinds of essential HRH which has lowered community access to quality health workers and to quality health services. In 2008, the country had 7.73 specialists, 26.3 general physicians, 7.7 dentists, 43.75 midwives, and 157.75 nurses per
100,000 population.  Most of the health workforce is concentrated in Java Island and in big cities, leaving rural and hardship areas underserved. Hospitals suffer from considerable shortages of nurses and other mid-level cadres. Community health centers face severe shortages of all HRH cadres except nurses. It is estimated that an additional 11,000 midwives are needed to serve in rural areas.

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Strengthening Indonesia’s health workforce through partnerships

  • a HRH Planning Division, Center for Planning and Management of Human Resources for Health, BDEHRH, Ministry of Health, Indonesia
  • b Webster University, Geneva, Switzerland
  • c Global Partnerships, Global Health Workforce Alliance, WHO, Geneva, Switzerland
  • d Ministry of Health, Indonesia
  • e Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
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