Bali's provincial government is preparing a budget of Rp. 250 billion (US$25 million) to pay for a free medical care program to be introduced in 2010.
"Jaminan Kesehatan Bali Mandara" is the extension of a program launched in 2008 in 500 villages at a cost of Rp. 12 billion (US$1.2 million) that covers the cost of medical examinations, treatment, surgical operations, outpatient care and hospitalization.
Quoted in Kompas.com, Bali's governor Made Mangku Pastika said: "We are prioritizing this health program together with our educational program. It's certain that (as a result) a number of expenditures in other areas will have to be tightened, such as expenditures for official travel which can re reduced."
The allocation for the new health program will come from the provincial budget (APBD) for 2009. To ensure sufficient funds are available, Pastika has asked for additional contributions from all the regencies and city governments on the island.
"We will coordinate with the bupatis and mayors in order that the health service can operate and be enjoyed by the people, " added governor Pastika.
The governor told the press how people who are sick will receive free medical service by presenting only their identity card (KTP) and the family card (kartu keluarga) without any further enquiry on their status. Emphasizing that the program would be simple and straight forward, Pastika said all would be entitled to health care at local hospitals with admission into a 3rd class ward. Underlining the point, Pastika said: "This applies for all the people of Bali, for all types of illnesses, without any discrimination. All you have to do is be prepared to accept hospitalization in a 3rd class ward."
Wayan Rata (50), a resident of the Badung regency, said he is enthusiastic about the new health program. He added that he hoped the processing and service would be less complicated than his recent experience where he could only receive medical service after presenting a letter from the district government certifying his impoverishment.
Through the end of the first semester of 2009, a total of 2,500 visits by medical teams to 300 villages across Bali have been performed. The most common medical complaint encountered by the medical teams have joint pain and cataracts.
Bali's medical service estimates that 35% of the total population is suffering some sort of illness. From that total, 2-5% need hospitalization. Bali's government estimates that 540,000 or 15.4% of the island's total population of 3.5 million can be categorized as "poor."
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