Visiting a Doctor in Indonesia



Even major cities such as Jakarta and Bali have few quality hospitals where expats can come for treatment. One may also expect to find only local doctors in Indonesia as foreigners are not allowed to practice medicine here.

While there are good Indonesian doctors, they usually work daytime in public hospitals, where conditions are not very ideal. With the help of the Indonesian Medical Association, the national government and foreign funding, however, efforts continue to improve the quality of health care all over the country.

In general, expatriates come to group practice medical clinics in Jakarta, where the country's best doctors and specialists practice and where services come complete, including radiology, dentistry, pharmacy, ambulance, laboratory, emergency and physiotherapy. The real challenge is the cultural difference between the Indonesian and Western medical settings. While a Westerner might be used to freely asking questions from his doctor in order to be enlightened on his condition, this may not work with an Indonesian doctor who could take offense at being questioned. In the end, it is best for an expat to carefully explain why he needs to ask questions regarding his health condition.

When visiting a clinic or hospital in Indonesia, it is expected that one bring a copy of his overseas medical history to help the doctor plan the best course of treatment. Health care is generally cheap in Indonesia, but those who have the money to pay more will often receive higher quality of care. International health insurance in Indonesia can also help but this has to be verified with the doctor who may or may not recognize the insurer.

Indonesia is not the place to be reckless with one's health, but as long as one is responsible enough to practice the right precautions, life can be fun, rewarding and safe in this part of Asia.