The Indonesian Parliament on July 11 passed into law the nation’s Health Bill, allowing foreign medical specialists to practise and be based in the country. The law aims at simplifying bureaucratic processes for general physicians to become specialists, and regulating the collection of the country’s biomedical, genomic data for processing overseas. President Joko Widodo must sign it within a month to officially turn it into law.
With foreign specialists coming into the country, the traffic of middle-class and rich Indonesians going overseas to seek treatment will be curbed, said the Health Ministry. Affluent Indonesians frequently travel to Singapore, Malaysia, the United States and Europe for medical services.
Foreign doctors must clear a competence evaluation before they can be issued a practice licence by the health minister. With the licence, they can undergo an adaptation process at a local health facility. The specialists who have practised at least five years overseas or are experts in certain fields with a strong portfolio are exempted from the evaluation and adaptation process.
The health bill also introduces a ban on the sharing of biomedical, genomic data overseas. Sharing of such data is allowed only if a list of conditions is met, such as getting approval from the patient and the health minister, and declaring that the purpose of the data sharing is for research and the technology required to do the intended research is not yet present in Indonesia.