Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The government will finalize its Eastern Palapa Ring project to support the development of a telemedicine program for Papua and West Papua, National Development Planning Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro stated.

"Internet connectivity is the key to telemedicine. The government is working on its Eastern Palapa Ring project that will connect some areas in the eastern part that are yet to have internet connectivity. If it (the internet connection) is good, the telemedicine program could run optimally," Bambang noted on the sidelines of the Indonesian Diaspora Global Summit 2017 here, Monday.

He elaborated that telemedicine uses telecommunication technology to provide information and long-distance medical services, which in practice, will connect reference hospitals with their supported health centers.

"Health centers will be connected to their reference hospitals depending on the illness. The instruction for patients will be taken from their respective data and shared via the telemedicine network. Doctors in Jakarta will have information on a patients heart condition, for instance, and they will give instruction on what to do to this patient," Bambang explained.

Doctors or paramedics at health centers will perform their duties under the monitoring of doctors in reference hospitals, he remarked.

Long-distance medical services will overcome the problem of shortage of medical doctors and diagnostic services and cut short the distance for patients in remote areas.

Bambang said, the telemedicine network in 2017 will be focused in Papua and West Papua. The reference hospital in West Papua is the Sorong Hospital that will support the Raja Ampat District Hospital, Oransbari Health Center, and Sausapor Health Center.

In Papua, the Dok II hospital in Jayapura will function as a reference hospital.

The National Development Planning Board will cooperate with Australia to facilitate the development of telemedicine by using the countrys experience in long-distance medical services in the northern part of Australia.

Bambang expects that the new telemedicine services would be applied in 2018 after the completion of the Eastern Palapa Ring project.

"We are waiting for a strong connection, as we are concerned about issues related to cardiology, tropical diseases, pregnant women, psychiatry, and others," he added.(*)

Editor: Heru Purwanto
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