In a bid to enhance healthcare services in remote and underserved regions, Indonesia's Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin recently traveled to the United States to meet with SpaceX founder & CEO Elon Musk to discuss a collaborative effort between the Indonesian government and Starlink, SpaceX's revolutionary satellite network. The meeting, held on August 6, highlighted the potential of utilizing Starlink's satellite internet service to bridge the digital divide and provide crucial connectivity to health centers in remote areas across Indonesia.
Minister Sadikin expressed the government's commitment to ensuring healthcare access across the country. "This is our effort to ensure equitable health services in the country. Community health centers as the frontline for creating a healthy community must ensure that the infrastructure is adequate," Sadikin stated during his announcement (quote was translated to English). He emphasized the importance of bolstering infrastructure at local health centers (known as puskesmas) in order to effectively serve as the frontline of community health.
The collaboration with Starlink aims to provide reliable internet access to health centers located in disadvantaged, frontier, and outermost (3T) regions. Currently, out of the existing 10,000 puskesmas, approximately 2,200 lack access to the internet, according to data from the Ministry of Health. Additionally, around 11,100 smaller puskesmas remain unconnected.
Minister Sadikin highlighted the potential benefits of internet access in healthcare settings. "With internet access, health service consultations can be done online . Increasing the ability of health workers through remote training can also be carried out, " Sadikin told Indonesian news outlets. He also emphasized that the availability of strong internet connectivity would enable online training for healthcare workers, fostering continuous professional development.
Improved internet connectivity is expected to significantly enhance access to healthcare services and facilitate seamless communication between different regions. The real-time reporting from healthcare facilities can enhance coordination and response times, leading to better overall patient care.
SpaceX Starlink has garnered international attention for its ambitious mission to provide affordable internet to remote and underserved areas globally. Utilizing a vast satellite constellation in low Earth orbit, Starlink delivers broadband internet capable of supporting various online activities, including streaming and video calls.
Remarkably, Starlink has already made strides in the healthcare sector in several other countries. Healthcare facilities in the Philippines, Rwanda, Mozambique, and Nigeria have successfully implemented Starlink's internet service to enhance patient care, streamline communication, and provide access to medical resources in areas where traditional internet infrastructure is lacking.
As the Indonesian government and Starlink work together to expand internet access in remote health centers, this collaboration holds the promise of revolutionizing healthcare delivery in underserved regions and contributing to the advancement of digital connectivity on a global scale.
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Featured Image Source: Indonesian Health Ministry
About the Author
Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.