Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Indonesian Health Ministry has started to explore several remote areas, such as North Nias District in North Sumatra, to increase access to health services that are equal for all parties.

"The Health Ministry continues to work on improving equal access to health service for all people," Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin noted in Jakarta, Saturday.

During his visit to North Nias District on Friday, February 17, Sadikin reviewed the North Nias Pratama Hospital and the Technical Implementation Unit (UPT) of the Lotu community health center (puskesmas) as well as held a meeting with the North Nias District Government.

His visit aimed to identify which health facilities needed improvement, as Nias was included as one of the remote areas in Indonesia.

The minister observed that currently, North Nias District only had the North Nias Pratama Hospital and 11 puskesmas. The region only had 27 doctors, with one of them being a pediatrician while the four others were Nusantara Sehat doctors.

Sadikin remarked that with Rp85-billion budget disbursed by his ministry, comprising Rp70 billion for physical development and Rp15 billion for non-physical development, his side will continue to help North Nias District improve its health services.

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Related to health human resources, the Health Ministry has provided a scholarship program for two thousand general practitioners per year to become specialist doctors. To this end, Sadikin urged the North Nias District Government to prepare its best human resources to become involved in the medical and dentistry sectors through the scholarship program.

"I want every hospital to be able to handle the most common causes of death, such as heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. Our problem is not limited medical equipment but that of a lack of doctors," he remarked.

Meanwhile, Head of North Nias District, Amizaro Waruwu, emphasized that health is an important factor to ensure success in development in North Nias. Waruwu affirmed that the regional government had been prioritizing development of the health sector.

Waruwu also proposed the construction of two puskesmas building units -- Alasa and Lahewa puskesmas -- which were direly needed by residents to treat their health problems.

In addition, the residents of North Nias District need medical devices for 74 integrated health post (posyandu) prima, increasing the facilities at North Nias Pratama Hospital, including the placement of specialist doctors, such as internists, obstetricians and gynecologists, clinical pathologists, anesthetists, and radiologists, to help the hospital increase its status to a class D hospital, Waruwu stated.

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Translator: Hreeloita Dharma S, Resinta S
Editor: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
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