Sweden offers Indonesia Lesson On Universal Healthare

26 April, 2011 | Source: The Jakarta Post

An integrated approach combining generous, efficient and quality healthcare, as well as relentless efforts in advancing innovation and technology, will deliver improved medical healthcare, a Swedish minister says.

Swedish Minister of Health and Social Affairs Göran Hägglund said recently that an integrated approach to healthcare would improve the chances on living a longer and healthier life.

“We are facing pressure to deliver more quality health treatment. However, developing countries have to find many ways to deliver health care for everyone. It’s not only for the haves but also those who come from low-income families,” he said on the sidelines of a health seminar held by the Swedish Embassy and the Swedish Trade Council in Jakarta.

Sweden, a country of nine million, has become one of the world’s leading nations when it comes to healthcare innovations. The country adopts an approach called SymbioCare-Health to make the healthcare system effective, Hägglund said.

The approach is used by public and private medical facilities across the country, he said.

SymbioCare-Health has a set of core values comprising curiosity, efficiency, quality and generosity. Under the principle of quality care, Swedish healthcare providers place more focus on the patient’s needs.

“We strongly believe that people will be healthier if the healthcare system is generous and includes everyone,” Hägglund said. Under the principle of generosity, all individuals have the right to quality health treatment, meaning no patient is more important than any other.

Having adopted the principle of curiosity, Sweden has never stopped searching innovative technology. Citing examples, Hägglund said Swedish scientists had recently developed several innovations. By using the Leksell Gamma knife, for instance, doctors can treat brain tumors without having to enter the brain.

With an innovative climate surrounding its healthcare system, Sweden can produce quality health services at a low cost. The OECD Health Data 2009 report showed Sweden spent 9 percent of its GDP on healthcare, lower than the US or other EU states.

“We are interested in learning from the Swedish experience,” Indonesian Health Minister Endang Rahayu Sedyaningsih. Citing the country’s objectives for health development for 2011-2014, she said the government was targeting to improve access to healthcare to boost health levels and increase life expectancy.

Significant improvements in healthcare have been made in recent decades. In 2009, the average life expectancy in Indonesia was 70.06 years. In Sweden, among girls are born today, half will live to 100 years of age due to the improved economy in the last several decades.

Both developed and developing countries now face a vast increase in their aging populations.

“This means we have to deal with non-communicable diseases such as stroke, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer and much more. Indonesia wants to learn from developed countries, including Sweden, because they faced this problem earlier than us,” Endang said.

Indonesia, however, could also offer lessons to Sweden and other developed countries because they still faced the threat of infectious diseases that may be endemic to other parts of the world.

“Other challenges are new emerging diseases such as avian influenza,” Endang said.

 

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