Agnes Valentina Christa, Jakarta – The government recently told disapproving healthcare professional organizations that the omnibus health bill had already accommodated their aspirations.
On Monday, five professional associations, including the Indonesian Medical Association (IDI), took to the streets to oppose the health bill.
The Health Ministry has already submitted a so-called "inventory of issues", also known as DIM, to the House of Representatives last month. This inventory lists the points that the House would have to discuss first as part of the lawmaking process.
According to the Health Ministry spokesman Mohammad Syahril, the government has already accommodated the professional organizations' aspirations which they had already collected prior to submitting the DIM list to the House.
"We have already included IDI and other professional [organizations'] aspirations on the inventory of issues which we have given to the House of Representatives," Syahril said on Monday.
"President [Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo] has tasked Health Minister [Budi Gunadi Sadikin] to study [the bill] and ask for inputs from all stakeholders, professions, and the public [in making this] inventory of issues," Syahril said.
The series of public hearings took place on March 13-31. The sessions amounted to 115 public participation activities, 1,200 stakeholders, and 72,000 participants. The talks amassed 3,020 points for discussion (DIM) from a total of 478 articles on the health bill. They mostly cover hospital services, health workers, abortion, the social security system, and drug and pharmaceutical self-sufficiency.
The lawmakers would then discuss the health bill to further improve the policy, Syahril said.
"In the making of a new law or policy, there are of course matters that involve other professions, people, or associations," Syahril said.
"Of course, these protests do not mean we have to clash with one another, but to convey what is done and what can be worked on together. We are open to suggestions," he said.
Aside from IDI, the Indonesian Nurses Association (PPNI), Indonesian Midwives Association (IBNI), Indonesian Dental Association (PDGI), and Indonesian Pharmacist Association (IAI) were also at Monday's protests.
At the anti-health bill protests, the professional organizations said the policy had yet to accommodate the legal protection for health workers, including doctors.
Other areas of concern included the removal of professional organizations from the health law, the government's takeover of the professional organizations' roles, and 3-5 years of imprisonment in case of doctor's negligence.
Protesters also expressed concern over the medical negligence compensation.