The Capacity of the Indonesian Healthcare System to Respond to COVID-19

Front Public Health. 2021 Jul 7:9:649819. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2021.649819. eCollection 2021.


The Indonesian Government has issued various policies to fight Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). However, cases have continued to fluctuate over a year into the pandemic. There is a need to assess the country's healthcare system's capacity to absorb and accommodate the varying healthcare demands. We reviewed the current capacity of Indonesia's healthcare system to respond to COVID-19 based on the four essential elements of surge capacity: staff, stuff, structure, and system. Currently available medical staffs are insufficient to deal with potentially increasing demands as the pandemic highlighted the human resources challenges the healthcare system has been struggling with. The pandemic has exposed the fragility of medical supply chains. Surges in the number of patients requiring hospitalization have led to depleted medical supplies. The existing healthcare infrastructure is still inadequate to deal with the rise of COVID-19 cases, which has also exposed the limited capacity of the healthcare infrastructure to manage medical waste. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed the weakness of the patient referral system and the limited capacity of the healthcare system to deliver essential health services under prolonged emergencies. The Indonesian Government needs to ramp up the country's healthcare capacity. A wide range of strategies has been proposed to address those mounting challenges. Notwithstanding, the challenges of increasing healthcare capacity highlight that such efforts could represent only one part of the pandemic response equation. Effective pandemic response ultimately requires governments' commitment to increase healthcare capacity and flatten the curve concurrently.

Keywords: COVID-19; Indonesia; healthcare; pandemic; surge capacity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Humans
  • Indonesia / epidemiology
  • Pandemics*
  • SARS-CoV-2