Central Java, Indonesia—Gone are the days when villagers in Indonesia’s Central Java Regency of Wonogiri had to travel long distances to major cities for health care services. A newly refurbished hospital now offers high quality and affordable health care to communities at Wonogiri, and in doing so is changing lives—particularly of mothers and their children.
Inside the hospital’s cozy reception lounge, first-time parents Yunita Widiawati and Rasyid Dwi Permana, both 27, wait in comfort for a pediatrician. Their two-week old baby boy is scheduled to have his first vaccination and post-birth checkup.
“I had so many concerns when we learned that I was pregnant,” says Yunita. “I was worried that I will not be able to provide the right pre-natal care for me and my baby.”
The couple are originally from Wonogiri but relocated in 2018 to Bekasi, a town on the eastern border of Jakarta. Hundreds of kilometers from their relatives, the couple started to build a future by running a meatball soup kiosk.
But the pregnancy made Yunita anxious. So the couple decided to move back to Wonogiri to be closer to her family and a reputable hospital.
“It’s very convenient that a hospital in my hometown offers good maternal care. I was able to have regular pre-natal examinations. And now we also have access to post-natal checkups and my baby’s primary care without worrying about long travel and hospital expenses.”
Nearby, another young patient is scheduled for a medical check-up. Nurhayani and Tananto accompany Azam Abinaya, their six-year-old son, whose incessant coughing worries them.
“I have a growing boy and it’s comforting to know that a hospital is close to home,” explains Nurhayani. “Hermina Wonogiri has complete facilities with friendly doctors and nurses. Having a hospital within convenient reach using public transport is a blessing for parents like us.”
These families are among many benefiting from affordable and accessible health care services in Wonogiri provided by PT Medikaloka Hermina Tbk (Hermina), which has received assistance from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in line with its focus on supporting health services to the poor and promoting universal health coverage in Indonesia. The families are patients under Jaminan Kesehatan Nasional (JKN), Indonesia’s universal health insurance program.
Expanding Operations to Serve More Patients
Hermina is one of the first private health facilities to register under JKN. This opens their services to new market segments in Indonesia. Current and emerging middle-income families under the JKN program, like Yunita and Nurhayani, can now access high-quality health services in a Hermina hospital.
In 2018, ADB participated as an anchor investor for Hermina’s initial public offering (IPO). ADB invested $10 million in direct financing and administered another $10 million from Leading Asia’s Private Infrastructure Fund, which was established in 2016 by the Japan International Cooperation Agency to deliver high-quality and sustainable private sector infrastructure projects in ADB’s developing member countries. ADB’s involvement in the IPO attracted third-party investors and built confidence in Hermina’s future access to capital markets.
The financing helped Hermina to expand its operations outside Jakarta and other major cities by acquiring hospitals in smaller cities and rural areas. The Wonogiri facility is one of its newly acquired and refurbished hospitals.
“Hermina took over Wonogiri hospital management in August 2020,” says Dr. Wenny Retno Sarie Lestari, hospital director of Hermina Wonogiri. “Renovation and construction, as well as procurement of new health equipment were needed to meet Hermina’s standard. Despite challenges during the height of pandemic, we are now fully operational to serve the community.”
The Wonogiri hospital, like other Hermina facilities across Indonesia, provides general and specialist health services. But its prime service is in perinatology—providing health care to mother and child before, during, and after birth—and neonatal intensive care, reflecting Hermina’s focus on maternity and child health care.
Hermina Wonogiri also offers public awareness seminars for pregnant women on child care and development.
“The regional government is concerned with stunting cases in Wonogiri,” explains Dr. Lestari. “We actively partner with them to help reduce the stunting rate. We conduct public seminars on pre- and post-natal care. We also discuss the importance of breastfeeding in the first six months of a baby’s life. We believe that engaging our patients and the public about health care will go a long way.”
Investing in Health is Investing for a Better Future
Indonesia’s goal to achieve universal health coverage requires substantial expansion of hospital infrastructure. Its health care system is considerably underserved, with patients often struggling to obtain hospital beds and access to doctors, leading to poor health outcomes, especially for new mothers and infants.
A strong partnership with the private sector is key to expanding health coverage and delivering health care services under JKN. ADB’s partnership with Hermina demonstrates the success of a business model that focuses on JKN adoption.
Aniruddha Patil, Unit Head of Health and Education Investments at ADB’s private sector operations department, says that strengthening health care through the private sector can deliver broader economic benefits. The government uses its budget to focus on affordability while the private sector can catalyze investment to improve quality and access to health care.
“We are helping to reduce out-of-pocket expenses for health care services needed by vulnerable families. This prevents them from slipping into poverty due to health shocks. We look forward to replicating this partnership, and encourage other hospital operators to work with the public sector to deliver much-needed health care services across Indonesia and elsewhere in the region.”
Shaping A New Generation
Yunita and Nurhayani feel fortunate to be raising their young children in Wonogiri, where health care services are now accessible and affordable.
“Years back, only one hospital accepted patients under JKN,” recalls Nurhayani. “Patient queues were so long and it was difficult to get a doctor’s appointment. We really appreciate the opening of Hermina here in Wonogiri.”
Access to high quality health care services like those provided by Hermina Wonogiri improves and sometimes saves lives.
“We hope our presence in Wonogiri, with our standard medical equipment and skilled health professionals, can help reduce maternal and pediatric health issues,” says Dr. Lestari. “Healthy children will shape our future generation.”