Since the passing of the pandemic, discussions have revolved around the disparities in welfare and healthcare accessibility within communities.
The distribution of medical personnel tends to be uneven, making it challenging for residents in the frontier, outermost, underdeveloped regions to access healthcare services.
This discourse was thoroughly examined in a national symposium by the UGM Faculty of Dentistry, inviting representatives from the Ministry of Health and the Yogyakarta Health Office.
“The healthcare sector’s challenges to providing the best and equitable services are shared issues. Through Law No. 17 of 2023, dentists have been provided opportunities to serve and carry out their roles in public health for national welfare,” said Budi Gunadi Sadikin, the Minister of Health.
In his address, Minister Sadikin thanked the Faculty of Dentistry for organizing the event and said that the Ministry of Health fully supports any idea boosting and providing direction for the healthcare field.
“There are three main obstacles. First, the issue of equitable distribution of healthcare workers. Second, accessibility for the community, especially the less privileged. Despite the government assistance, it hasn’t necessarily solved the issue of accessibility,” said Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry, Dr. Suryono.
“Challenges such as transportation, geographical conditions, and even the inability of the public to exercise their rights under BPJS have posed obstacles.”
Many residents still have to undertake journeys that take hours or even days to reach hospitals. This situation is aggravated by the inadequate distribution of medical personnel in remote areas and insufficient healthcare facilities.
Dean Suryono also mentioned another reason for the uneven distribution of medical personnel is the lack of funding for dental equipment.
“Ninety percent of dental materials and equipment are imported. Why not strive for self-sufficiency in meeting these needs?” the dean added.
“I am confident that through research and innovation from lecturers and many parties, they can be used to develop beneficial community healthcare services.”
Initiatives like these, he believes, are not widely cultivated in the healthcare sector.
Special Staff to the Minister of Health for Resilience, Professor Laksono Trisnantoro, responded to the uneven resource distribution for healthcare services.
“Currently, we have 3,000 community health centers spread across Indonesia. However, we do not yet know if all of them even have dental clinics or dentists,” Professor Trisnantoro said.
“Aside from a lack of healthcare facilities, the problem of accessibility also involves medical personnel. Thus, our legislation initiated whether general practitioners could be specially trained to handle patients typically treated by specialists.”
Access to healthcare is a fundamental right that society should fulfill. Addressing the challenges requires collaboration from various parties, especially to promote physicians’ commitment to remote areas.
Integration between interdisciplinary fields is also expected to pave the way for professionals to carry out their duties and functions more effectively.