Jakarta – Thousand of healthcare workers comprising doctors, nurses and midwives demonstrated in Jakarta on Monday May 8 against the Draft Healthcare Law (RUU Kesehatan).
The demonstrators, who had been gathering since 7.35 am, centred the action on the Horse Statue in Central Jakarta.
The participants came from the Indonesian Medical Association (IDI), the Indonesian National Nurses Union (PPNI), the Indonesian Midwives Association (IBI), the Indonesia Dentist Association (PDGI) and the Indonesian Pharmacists Association (IAI).
The demonstrators gave speeches and unfurled banners opposing the healthcare law that is currently being deliberated by the People's House of Representatives (DPR). The health workers said that the draft law was drafted hastily and needs to be reevaluated.
"Stop deliberating the RUU Kesehatan. Reject the liberalisation and capitalisation of healthcare", wrote one of the demonstrators on a banner they were holding.
The health workers urged the DPR to halt the deliberation on the law and asked the government and the DPR to fix healthcare services rather than busy themselves with a new law.
Ministry of Health spokesperson Dr. Mohammad Syahril meanwhile questioned why they were demonstrating explaining that the healthcare law is in fact intended to protect health workers.
"Let us not provoke [opposition] as if there is the potential for criminalisation. That's not true. In fact, this health bill adds new protections, including from attempts at criminalisation. Our intention is to protect [health workers], so how come they are instead demonstrating", said Syahril in a written statement on Monday May 8.
Syahril urged health workers not to leave their jobs in order to take part in demonstrations. He reminded them that patient services must be prioritised. (dhf/wis)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Ribuan Dokter dan Perawat Demo di Patung Kuda Tolak RUU Kesehatan".]