Quick Bahasa Indonesia lesson for ya: Rumah sakit, which means hospital, is a combination of the Indonesian words for house and sick, respectively. Now, keep in mind that the Indonesian word for good health is sehat.
In Jakarta, 31 general hospitals are no longer called rumah sakit. Instead, thanks to a new policy signed off by Governor Anies Baswedan, they are now called rumah sehat (healthy houses) in a bid to give a more positive connotation to the place sick people go to get well.
Anies' reasoning for the semantic update is that he hopes hospitals can also be a place people go to when they're healthy.
"All this time, hospitals are oriented towards curing [patients] and rehabilitation, so people come only when they're sick," Anies said yesterday, adding that he now wants hospitals to play a greater role in promoting preventive measures to the general populace.
The name change was made official in a ceremony at Cengkareng General Hospital in West Jakarta, which, in Indonesian, is now called Rumah Sehat Untuk Jakarta (Healthy House for Jakarta).
Jakarta Regional Council (DPRD) Speaker Prasetyo Edi Marsudi lambasted the name change and the administration's policy-making. "[They should introduce policies] that can have direct impact on the public, not just changing names," he said.
The politician also pointed out that Indonesia's law on hospitals categorically defines the health facility as rumah sakit, so there should be no room for an updated definition.
"Hospitals are there to treat the sick. Logic dictates that. If patients are healthy, then they can go back to work and resume their activities," Prasetyo said.