JAYAPURA, KOMPAS.com - Health Minister Endang Rahayu Sedyaningsih has announced the creation of the "Flying Health Care" program to improve access to health care services for the population in the Indonesian easternmost province of Papua.
"The improvement of access to health services through the Flying Health Care program is part of the Health Ministry’s 2012-2014 Plan of Action," Endang said here on Tuesday.
She pointed out that within the program’s Plan of Action was the implementation of the Health-care Guarantee and Improvement of Access to Health Services through Flying Health Care for Papuans, which begins in 2012. The minister noted that the extensive land mass of Papua, with its population scattered throughout valleys and mountainous areas, made the Flying Health Care program necessary for delivering health care to the population.
"Geographic conditions makes it difficult for Papua province, with a population of only 2.8 million, to have adequate health services at clinics and hospitals, and therefore the Flying Health Care program is necessary for the people in the province," Endang said.
She noted that besides the Flying Health Care program, the Ministry of Health had other new programs to improve the access to health services in the province in a bid to raise access to public health. Endang admitted that maternal and infant mortality rates, and the prevalence of severe malnutrition, remained high in Papua.
"Although we have been providing medical services to the people of Papua for several decades, in reality we have to work even harder and smarter," the minister noted.
To improve access to health services in Papua, Endang said the Ministry of Health has drafted the Plan of Action for 2012-2014 which is made up of various health-related activities. She said some of the activities included the acceleration of reaching Millennium Development Goals, intensification of eradication of non-communicable and infectious diseases, and the operation of village malaria eradication centers.