Indonesia plans cuts to COVID-19 incentives for health workers

A case tracer in North Jakarta performing a swab test. Photo courtesy of Abimanyu
A case tracer in North Jakarta performing a swab test. Photo courtesy of Abimanyu

Those at the very front of Indonesia’s fight against COVID-19 may see a reduction in their incentives, as the Finance Ministry seeks to make cuts to financial stimulus for health workers.

The plan came to light after an official letter by the ministry, addressed to the Health Ministry, leaked to the public. The letter outlines the Finance Ministry’s intention to extend by one year stimulus given to health workers during the pandemic — which was given throughout 2020 — but with half the incentive rates for individual health workers.

Under the Finance Ministry’s proposal, in 2021, specialists will receive an incentive of IDR7.5 million per month, down from IDR15 million in 2020; resident specialists will receive IDR6.25 million per month; general practitioners and dentists will receive IDR5 million per month, down from IDR 10 million; midwives and nurses will receive IDR3.75 million per month, down from IDR7.5 million; and other health workers will receive IDR2.5 million per month, down from IDR 5 million.

The death benefit remains at IDR300 million.

Only health workers practicing in regions with high COVID-19 infection rates are entitled to the incentives and payouts.

Amid public outrage over the proposed cuts, the Finance Ministry today stressed that the plan has not been finalized as the matter is still being discussed with the Health Ministry.

One explanation for the proposed incentive cuts is the fact that the government has so far allocated IDR169.7 trillion in stimulus for the health sector to tackle the pandemic, but the figure may rise to IDR254 trillion in the near future if required.

“Support for health workers who treat COVID-19 patients, vaccination workers, and those enforcing health protocol discipline are still being prioritized,” the Finance Ministry’s Budgeting Director General Aksolani said.

The Indonesian Medical Association (IDI) previously said Indonesia has one of the world’s highest mortality rates among health workers due to COVID-19.

US$1 = IDR14,031

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