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Indonesia has achieved significant milestones in combatting infectious diseases, but the increasing incidence of non-communicable diseases brings new challenges. Greater investment in health care and sound policies can help expand access to innovative medicines and combat rising rates of disease.
Indonesia has achieved significant milestones in combatting infectious diseases, including declaring more than half of its districts malaria-free following concerted national efforts to combat the disease. But the increasing incidence of non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular conditions, diabetes and cancer, brings new challenges. These are exacerbated by low investment in health, a small health care workforce and barriers to outside investment.
Currently, Indonesia spends just 3.1 percent of its GDP on health, falling well below the average of its regional peers (6.6 percent). Further, Indonesia has less than one (0.2) doctor per 1,000 population, according to the World Health Organization – significantly below the average of its regional peers (1.6 doctors per 1,000 population).
Indonesia has a growing middle class and is becoming an economic giant in Asia, making it an attractive market to foreign investors. However, there remain legal and regulatory barriers to medicine access – including high import tariffs on medical supplies (5-30 percent) and pharmaceuticals – as well as weaker intellectual property protections that ultimately discourage innovators.
By increasing health spending, building the health care workforce and implementing sound policies that attract investors, the Indonesian government can expand access to innovative medicines and combat rising rates of disease.