Thu, 05 Oct 2000

Minister launches health plan

JAKARTA (JP): The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare launched on Wednesday a US$79.07 million pilot project aimed at facilitating the decentralization of health services in anticipation of the implementation of regional autonomy next year.

The project is being held in two provinces -- Lampung and Yogyakarta.

"The two provinces were picked because they are quite ready to run the decentralization scheme in the health sector," Minister of Health and Social welfare Achmad Sujudi said.

The project will entail, among other things, the further unification of the ministry of health offices and health agencies both at the provincial and regency levels, the implementation of career policies, and public accountability in the provision of services.

"We also will concentrate on providing adequate health services for destitute people along with extending the use of health insurance," Achmad added.

The project is divided into two stages; a trial period which runs until December 2001 and the implementation period which is slated to run from January 2002 to December 2005.

From the total cost of $79.07 million, $38 million is being provided through a soft loan from the International Development Association (IDA).

"We expect the rest of the funds to come from the state budget and other grants and loans," Achmad said.

According to the ministry's secretary general, who is also the program chief, E. Sutarto, the pilot project will be conducted in all regencies of Yogyakarta and Lampung.

However, neither Sutarto nor Achmad would elaborate on when the project would be implemented in other provinces or how much the project would cost.(edt)