The system has struggled to cope and at times has appeared to be on the brink of collapse with ICUs overflowing and staff stretched thin. Indonesia also lost precious time mobilizing resources and measures for both treatment and mitigation of the virus. While vaccinations are underway, the country is far from recovery and risks being isolated as a result of travel restrictions.
The tough pandemic experience, however, has strengthened the hand of those officials who are more open to foreign investment in a sector long virtually closed to foreign companies. With the new Omnibus Job Creation Law mentioning health care more aggressively, it is time to gauge the regulatory changes and opportunities for investors.
Without a doubt, Indonesia’s large population and rising middle class make it an attractive market for healthcare investment. The World Bank has observed that the middle class has an increased preference for private healthcare and higher quality services. To satisfy that demand, increased investment at all levels is needed to improve the quality of service delivery is crucial.
Indonesia also has the lowest number of hospitals per capita in ASEAN and the second lowest doctor-to-patient ratio. As a result, many Indonesians travel abroad for better medical care. This is not a viable option for many people. The system at home must be fixed.