Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesia needs thousands of specialist doctors to plug a shortage of medical personnel and address the uneven distribution of specialist doctors at health facilities, Minister of Health, Budi Gunadi Sadikin, has said.

"We still need thousands of specialist doctors, especially doctors in regions, in (regions) outside of Java," he informed here on Wednesday.

The number of specialist doctors is insufficient to meet the community's needs for health services, he noted.

To tackle this issue, the Ministry of Health is carrying out several acceleration programs, such as providing scholarships for 2,500 doctors and making education more affordable.

Based on data from the World Health Organization (WHO), Indonesia’s doctor-citizen ratio is 1:1,000, while the ratio in developed countries is 3:1,000, and some countries are even trying to reach a ratio of 5:1,000.

According to Sadikin, hospitals, especially those outside Java island, are experiencing a shortage of specialist doctors. One regional public hospital (RSUD) should have a minimum of seven specialist doctors.

Another effort that has been made is the Academic Health System (AHS), which aims to ensure that more doctors can enroll in university- and hospital-based medical specialty education programs.

The establishment of a hospital-based medical specialty education concept could enable a salary payment system for participants of the Specialist Medical Education Program (PPDS) in order to support efforts to produce and distribute specialist doctors across the country, he explained.

"We will work closely with the Ministry of Finance and local governments to ensure that their salaries are paid sufficiently," he said.

Earlier, the minister urged universities to produce more specialist doctors owing to their inequitable distribution in the country.

Sadikin said that currently, Indonesia has very few specialist doctors, for instance, those specializing in cardiology. Indonesia has only 1,485 cardiologists, and the figure is far lower than the need for cardiologists in the country, he pointed out.

Ideally, one cardiologist must serve up to 100 thousand people, he said. However, currently, one cardiologist is serving as many as 250 thousand people.

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Translator: Asep Firmansyah, Raka Adji
Editor: Suharto
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