Indonesia has the capacity provide sustainable and equitable healthcare to its citizens, but access and quality of services stand on the way, the United Nations has said. “Despite commendable efforts, availability, access to and quality of health services remains a challenge in a country where population is spread throughout thousands of islands and remote areas,” the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to health, Dainius Puras, said on April 4. He urged Indonesian authorities to address such challenges “with the highest level of political commitment so that health system guarantees all core elements of the right to health.”
Concluding a two-week visit to the Southeast Asian country, Puras stressed: “Increased investments in healthcare only make sense if the system is efficient, transparent, accountable, and responsive to those who use it.” He urged the Government to increase investment in health. He also pointed out barriers to the realization of sexual and reproductive health rights exist in the form of violence and discrimination against women and other key populations.
While Indonesia has a relatively low prevalence of HIV/AIDS, new infections are on the rise and those affected face stigma and discrimination, including in healthcare settings. Ethnic Papuans are twice as likely to contract HIV/AIDS as the rest of the population.
The health rights expert also called for improvement in drug policy, as current policy undermined public health efforts and the right to health of people who use drugs. “Criminalization of drug use only fuels discrimination, violence and exclusion driving people away from the health services they need and seriously undermining public health efforts.” The Special Rapporteur will present a comprehensive report on his visit to Indonesia to the UN Human Rights Council in June 2018. (Source: UN)