Magelang Scores High, Papua Low In Health Survey

The Jakarta Globe

Jakarta. Magelang in Central Java and Pegunungan Bintang in Papua have come out at the top and the bottom, respectively, in a survey ranking health care quality across the country.

The results of the Ministry of Health’s Community Health Development Index (IPKM) survey of 440 districts and municipalities, unveiled over the weekend, measured the quality of health care systems based on 24 criteria.

Trihono, from the Health Ministry’s Research and Development Board, said the indicators included the prevalence of mental disorders, access to clean water, the ratio of doctors to the general population and immunization rates.

He said that the purpose of the ministry’s survey was to help formulate intervention programs specifically tailored to the unique health issues facing each region.

The areas surveyed were given scores between 0 and 1, the latter denoting the highest possible rating.

The latest survey shows that Magelang in Central Java has the best health care quality with a score of 0.709.

Meanwhile, Pegunungan Bintang, in the mountainous range running through the center of Papua, has the worst health care quality with a score of 0.247.

“Of the 20 districts at the bottom of the ranking, 14 are located in eastern Indonesia, mostly in Papua province,” Trihono said.

According to Umar Fahmi Ahmadi, a public health expert from University of Indonesia, one of the main reasons many parts of the nation’s eastern reaches had weak health care systems was geographic inaccessibility.

“In these places, which are surrounded by difficult terrain, more money has to be spent on overhead such as transportation instead of health care systems,” Umar said.

Trihono said the government was planning to provide areas with low scores more intensive assistance, including experts to help them deal with some of the major problems they faced.

Purnawan Junaidi, another public health expert from University of Indonesia, said that a district’s wealth was not necessarily an indication of its health care quality.

“Yogyakarta is one example of a district that is not rich but has a good health care system,” Purnawan said. Yogyakarta’s score, 0.695, puts it in fourth place, just after Salatiga, also in Central Java.

According to Umar, the reason some of the poorer districts had better health care systems was because they did not have high levels of social and economic inequality.

“Let’s take South Jakarta as an example. South Jakarta is in a lower position than Magelang, Bantul or Madiun because it has a high level of inequality and a big gap between the rich and poor,” he said.

Magelang, Yogyakarta and Salatiga, he said, had more homogenous societies with larger middle classes.

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