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Medical Practices, Medical Clinics and Medical Facilities in Indonesia

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If you are new or about to move to Indonesia

Medical practice is not universal; medical customs, indications and procedures differ widely between countries and patients' expectations differ even more. If uncomfortable with this and seeking “the same as at home”, as in other aspects of expatriate life, you will be stressed, upset and sometimes angry. If prepared for these differences and having taken the necessary precautions, this situation need not remain the source of chronic complaint and anxiety that it is for some for the whole of any expatriate posting (usually their first and last!).

Here are some tips to help you prepare before departing:

  1. Bring supply of medicine

    Before coming to Indonesia people should - as for any trip overseas - already have a sufficient supply of any prescription medicine needed until the next trip home. This is because while you may be able to continue that supply from a local facility, or you may find a local substitute acceptable to your original prescribing physician, this is not guaranteed, especially with the dynamic governmental policies in Indonesia. Many medications can be purchased over the counter that would only be available by prescription in your home country. However, in most cases the manufacturer is different and therefore the drug is identified by a different brand name - know the generic (chemical) name of your medicines if you think you are going to need to restock locally. It pays to bring the package insert from your previous prescription with you. Fraudulent drugs are not a major problem but be careful and check the dispensed drug before you pay for it.

  2. Bring your medical records

    If in Indonesia for the first time, bring your overseas medical records with you to familiarize your new doctors with your past medical history and the results of your pre-deployment check-up.

  3. Pre-deployment check-up

    If you haven’t had already—ask your new employer to get the whole family a thorough check-up to ensure you are fit, prior to your new assignment.

  4. Locate reliable medical practice

    Early in your stay, identify the closest medical facility with English-speaking personnel or indeed with staff who speak the language of your preference. Ascertain its working hours and its reputation if possible. Because the approach to the provision of medical care to both the population and the individual is quite different in Indonesia to what you may be used to, try and become a consumer of local health services to spot the differences before there is an emergency. Form a relationship with a doctor and clinic/hospital that you feel comfortable with.

Group practice medical clinics

Group practice medical clinics Expats in Jakarta tend to use group practice medical clinics for primary care. They are able to meet the majority of regular medical demands, thanks to their network of specialists. They offer the highest-level GP medical treatment available in Indonesia and refer to local hospitals for some tests if needed. These facilities are only available in Jakarta and a few other major cities, and providing all-encompassing medical treatment is the main focus of these clinics, including but not limited to: laboratory, radiography, pharmacy, dentistry, dermatology, psychiatry, physical therapy, emergency room, ambulance, and more. Medical consultations must be paid upon completion, sometimes only in cash. Not all medical facilities outside of the major centres accept credit cards so you need to ask in advance.

Cultural differences in medical care

Cultural differences in medical care

It is helpful to be aware ahead of time that patients’ expectations may differ in view of cultural differences. While patients in most countries expect to be able to ask a doctor a wide range of fairly pointed questions, which may even include statements implying that the doctor is unsure of what she is treating or if the prescription will be effective, questioning the doctor is not a common practice in Indonesian culture. While doctors in international clinics may expect to be questioned and recognise that foreigners may be more demanding in receiving answers, understanding the local practitioner's point of view and using politeness and patience rather than confrontation and aggression is going to result in a more satisfactory consultation for both parties.

This is not to say that patients should accept a consultation if they are dissatisfied with not understanding what is wrong or if they are feeling their questions are ignored. It is suggested that patients ought to have in alternative access to a medical advisory service, either in country or abroad, who they can contact 24 hours a day in emergency situations and who they can call during working hours for routine independent medical advice. It is recommended that you do not go to the local hospital on your own unless you are very sure about the doctor you are going to see. In case of an emergency try to ensure that you have a fluent/native Bahasa Indonesia speaker to assist you, as well as adequate funds for the medical expenses.

Overseas treatment and medical evacuation

For serious injuries and illnesses, many expatriates and Indonesians alike choose to go overseas for treatment. The usual referral center is Singapore, as it is cheaper to fly there than to the two most common referral centers in Australia. However, the standard of care between the two countries is very little and some Westerners may be more comfortable with the medical approach in Australia. The cost of medical treatment in Singapore is often two to three times that in Australia, so for more extensive treatment this definitely offsets more expensive air fares.

The option to go overseas for treatment not only depends on whether you can afford it or whether your company will pay for it, because in some cases of injury and illness it is not possible to fly by normal commercial flight, or at the very least a doctor must accompany the patient. All medical evacuations are expensive, and if you do not have insurance coverage for medical evacuation few can afford to pay for it themselves.

Even if you do have insurance coverage for medical evacuation, many insurance companies, especially those in Europe and the United States, may not accept the necessity to go overseas for treatment. To avoid disillusionment and, frankly, fear in an emergency, it is strongly recommended that you check with your insurance company at the beginning of your stay in Indonesia on what conditions and situations they will accept as requiring treatment overseas.

If possible, before you come, be sure you understand exactly what medical and travel security

coverage and what evacuation services your employer is offering.

Medical Assistance Services

As previously mentioned, it is best for patients to have the number of a medical advisory service available, someone you can call for routine independent medical advice as well as directions in an emergency. Not only is International SOS the largest provider of medical assistance services globally, but it's also the leading provider in Indonesia. Understanding how such a service functions before you need medical attention can be helpful. The following benefits of International SOS are available to expatriates:

  1. Medical and travel security advisory services and referrals for all International SOS members
  2. Medical oversight of the International SOS clinics in Indonesia
  3. Emergency medical evacuation or repatriation

Constraints (in other than medical emergencies):

  1. medical care in indonesiaFor us to carry out a non-emergency response, authorization from your company is required (this is your employer's request) and for that we need your full name and membership number (again, this is your company's request).
  2. Only Indonesian-trained doctors who hold Indonesian citizenship are able to get and hold medical registration in Indonesia; expatriate medical advisors can only provide technical assistance, i.e., a second opinion.
  3. As is the case worldwide, a doctor not registered to practice in that country - and indeed a doctor not accredited to a particular institution - cannot enforce any standards of care on local colleagues.


  1. Familiarize yourself and your surrounding (family, staff) with ways to contact your medical and security assistance provider. If you have membership with International SOS, you can download our Assistance App (with one touch access to call our nearest Assistance Centre), or call us at +62 21 7506001 (Jakarta) or +62 21 766 4633 (Bali)
  2. When you call for help, always have ready your name (or patient's FULL name if different), phone number (and membership number in calling International SOS) and short but succinct statement of what is wrong and what assistance you are seeking.
  3. If it is a medical emergency, say so (i.e., is this what you would dial 911 or the equivalent for at home?)
  4. If calling International SOS, expect to speak to a doctor as soon as possible if it is an emergency. In a non-emergency situation, we will call back as soon as possible.
  5. If a clinical consultation is not to your satisfaction, do not engage in confrontation; complete it and then call your personal or company medical advisor.
  6. Have elective medical tests and procedures done at home on your annual leave.

Prevention & Preparedness

Health Checkup

If you or your family members didn’t have a chance to go through pre-deployment medical checkup, or if you decided to hire domestic staffs who work with you and your family on a daily basis, it is a good idea to find a medical facility which can help with your screening needs. Infectious diseases are still looming over the blue-collar workers and are among the Top 10 cause of death in this country. Generally, in Indonesia, health checkup is not really a priority, so you may want to take care of your worker and make sure that your family members—especially kids and infant—are prevented from the spread of infections.

First aid trainingFirst Aid Training

Taking first aid training is a good idea not just because you are now living in a rapidly developing country with large gaps of medical infrastructure across the archipelago, but risks are there and emergencies happen anytime, anywhere. In such occasions, having the set of skills and confidence to respond to a situation is extremely valuable, especially when it may take some time before medical professionals can attend to the case. Find internationally accredited training provider who can give you the most updated curriculum in Basic Life Support or Advance Trauma Life Support.

First Aid Kits

As ambulance availability (or quality!) and access to medical facilities can vary largely between areas in Indonesia, having your own emergency kits ready for minor and common injuries treatment is a necessity, especially when travelling. And as a rule of thumb, these kits are best used by someone who is trained to perform the right first aid procedures. So, we cannot emphasize more the importance of having a first aid training in the first place.

Blood Usage, Blood donations and Sourcing Rare Blood Types in Indonesia

You should contact International SOS or your medical assistance company if you or your family are admitted to any hospital in Indonesia and the medical team are proposing blood products. As per WHO, screening for HIV is not universal (97%) in Indonesia and the HIV testing across all of Indonesia is not to the level of international standards, although the Red Cross is currently gradually introducing the international standard HIV test for blood screening.

If you require an urgent blood transfusion in Indonesia, the hospital will arrange for the correct blood type to be ordered. Rh neg blood is very rare in Indonesians and as such there is a volunteer blood donor committee who works with the Red Cross and can assist to organize urgent donations from a registry of volunteer expatriates in the event RH Negative blood is limited or not available.

For further information, read Blood Donations in Indonesia - Rhesus Negative Blood.

Medical Care Across the Indonesian Archipelago

If you live outside Jakarta, or are planning to travel outside Jakarta, please see International SOS's Medical Clinics and Assistance Centres listing.

For information on medical insurance, see the Medical Insurance page.

International SOS medical staff have agreed to answer medical questions related to living in Indonesia for theAsk the Experts forum. Please send your questions to us.

We trust this information will assist you in making correct choices regarding your health and welfare. However, it is not intended to be a substitute for personalized advice from your medical advisor.

Last updated January 5, 2023