The government is expected to increase the budget for childbirth care insurance for the poor to Rp 1.6 trillion (US$176 million) next year from this year’s budget of Rp 1.2 trillion.
The Health Ministry’s director for nutrition education and mother and child health, Slamet Riyadi Yuwono, said the decision was made after considering the increasing number of visits by poor people to public and private hospitals, as well as to community health centers.
The ministry recorded a four-fold increase in the number of such visits since the introduction of the program, known as Jampersal, in April this year.
“Therefore, the government will allocate more money to the program next year. We will increase the fund from Rp 1.2 trillion to Rp 1.6 trillion,” he said.
Slamet did not disclose the number of visits.
The Health Ministry introduced Jampersal to provide full coverage for childbirth costs for poor women at third-class facilities at public and private hospitals and community health centers.
The insurance covers not only medical treatment for childbirth but also other services, such as pre-natal and post-natal treatment as well as family planning services.
Currently, the government provides Rp 420,000 for each insurance package, but will raise the coverage to between Rp 470,000 and Rp 600,000 next year.
“Given the fact that more poor women throughout the country have been going to health centers for childbirth, I believe that this has contributed to the decreasing maternal mortality rate in this country.
Around 50 percent of deaths of pregnant mothers are caused by bleeding and pre-eclampsia, a medical condition, or rising hypertension during pregnancy,” Slamet said.
Indonesia’s maternal mortality rate currently stands at 228 per 100,000 live births. With the introduction of Jampersal, the government is targeting to reduce that rate to 102 per 100,000 live births by 2015 as a way to meet the standards set by the Millennium Development Goals.
The ministry said it would also increase the number of midwives in villages.
“However, the childbirth insurance program alone will not help reduce the maternal mortality rate in this country. This is why the government will also provide at least one midwife for each village throughout the country to bring access to healthcare closer to the people,” Slamet said.
A recent survey by Women Research Institute (WRI) showed a lack of reproductive health services for impoverished pregnant women and a lack of access to such services contributed to the high maternal mortality rate in the country.
The study concluded that the maternal mortality rate could be reduced if pregnant mothers had easy access to reproductive health facilities.
“Therefore, the government must implement the ‘one village, one maternity house, one midwife’ policy, and must allocate a sufficient budget to pay for it,” said the institute’s executive director Sita Aripurnami.
Data from the Indonesian Midwives Association showed that around 46.34 percent of childbirth services in villages were provided by midwives, 42.75 percent by traditional midwives or dukun bayi, while the rest were provided by doctors or family members.
Sita added that increasing the availability of affordable healthcare for pregnant women could also reduce the infant mortality rate, which currently stood at 34 deaths per 1,000 live births.
WRI’s study also found that many residents were not yet aware of the childbirth insurance program and called on the government to launch an awareness campaign. (msa)
Publisher : The Jakarta Post
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