Antara, Jakarta – The Indonesian Health Ministry is targeting to produce an additional 5,000 medical specialist graduates with the help of government and private scholarship programs in 2023 and 2024.
"We need a breakthrough to add the number of our specialist doctors. I think the easiest way is through the provision of scholarships. Last year, there were 600 applications, and I hope of all them got accepted. This year, we will open 2,500 quotas and another 2,500 quotas for next year," stated Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin in Jakarta on Tuesday.
In addition, he informed that Indonesia is in dire need of cardiologists.
"Indonesia still needs around 400 cardiologists. But currently, out of 92 medical faculties, only 20 of them have cardiology programs. This is taking too long to fulfill our need," Sadikin said.
He informed that the biggest shortage of specialist doctors was experienced in obstetrics with 3,941 obstetricians, 3,662 pediatricians, and 2,581 internists.
With the current number of lecturers and student quotas per lecturer, medical faculty in Indonesia are estimated to need 1.36 years to meet the need for obstetricians, 2.26 years for pediatricians, and 3.23 years for internists, he added.
According to Sadikin, his ministry is collaborating with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology, the Ministry of Finance, and the Education Fund Management Institution (LPDP) to increase the quota for specialist and sub-specialist doctor scholarships.
He also said that the government cannot work alone to overcome health human resource problems in Indonesia. Resolving the issue will require support and assistance from all parties, including the private sector, he said.
Currently, the Health Ministry is carrying out major reforms in the health sector. This effort has involved initiating health transformation through six pillars that focus on accommodating access and improving the quality of health services throughout Indonesia, the minister disclosed.
"In line with President Joko Widodo's directions, we have strengthened the quality of health service facilities in 514 regencies/cities through the provision of medical devices (and facilities) such as cath labs for cancer screening, mammography for breast cancer screening, and support programs for hospitals that lack specialist doctors," he added.