"Indonesia's engineers play a crucial role as innovators and they could drive various research and innovation-based activities to improve the capacity and the resiliency of the national health system," he remarked in an official statement received here on Saturday.
Indonesia should prepare to live with COVID-19, so research and innovation can take Indonesia out of the pandemic and into the endemic phase, he said.
According to Hartarto, based on the COVID-19 handling experience of almost two years, domestic research and innovation in the pharmacy and health sector should be encouraged so that health devices, therapeutic medicines, and vaccines can be produced domestically.
"Because this is what determines the handling of COVID-19. In addition, the fund that the government provided can have a multiplier effect on the growth of the health industry in Indonesia," he explained.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, 69 health device innovations and products have been created by Indonesians, he highlighted.
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The innovations include a Rapid Diagnostic Test Kit (RDT Kit), a PCR Test Kit, a hybrid mask with filtration efficiency equivalent to that of an N95 mask, and other products arising out of the synergy between the government and academicians, Hartarto said.
In addition, the government has collaborated with various research institutions and pharmaceutical companies, both within and outside the country, to develop and produce local vaccines, he added.
The push for the production of local vaccines is not just meant for meeting the needs of the Indonesian people, but also to help Indonesia emerge as a vaccine development hub in the global market or at least the regional market, he elaborated.
In terms of the number of engineers, Indonesia is still lacking, he noted. Indonesia has 2.671 engineers for every one million people, which is especially low compared to other ASEAN nations, he informed.
Therefore, the government is encouraging professional organizations to become active within the public sphere, he said.
These organizations should publicize engineering jobs within various development sectors by upholding integrity and professionalism and make the nation proud of domestic innovations and products, the minister said.
"The government is encouraging a broader, tighter synergy, especially by involving PII (Indonesia's Engineer Association) and related industry players and businesses, in order to reduce dependency on imports that deplete the foreign exchange," Hartarto said.
One of the support that the government has provided is an incentive is the super deduction tax for companies conducting research and development, he pointed out.
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