Photo by Dhemas Reviyanto for Antara.


Indonesia is aiming to vaccinate two-thirds of the population to reach herd immunity against Covid-19. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has set a deadline of 15 months from January 2021 for the program to be completed. But the size of the population and its geographical spread means this will be no easy task. To help speed up the vaccine rollout and keep the economy ticking over, the government has enlisted the help of private corporations to launch and pay for inoculation drives.

In March, state-owned pharmaceutical company Bio Farma and the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN) signed a cooperation agreement on the implementation of the self-funded vaccination program targeting employees of private companies and their families. Known as the vaksin gotong-royong (community cooperation/burden sharing vaccine) scheme, KADIN will register private companies in Indonesia and calculate the quantity of Covid-19 vaccines required.

So far, more than 8.5 million workers from 16,500 private companies have registered to receive the self-funded vaccine. According to Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin, the government plans to secure 426 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines for the self-funded vaccination program.

While this type of public-private cooperation may sound like a good way to hasten the rollout of the vaccination program, some observers are worried about problems like vaccine supply, corruption, and low health standards. To talk about the role of the private sector in the Indonesian government’s fight against Covid-19, I speak to Dr Andreasta Meliala.

Dr Meliala is director of the Hospital Management and Public Health Graduate Program at Gadjah Mada University (UGM) in Yogyakarta, where he also serves as the director of the Centre for Health Services and Management at the Faculty of Medicine. Dr Meliala holds a Masters in Hospital Management from UGM, a Masters of Advanced Science from Medizinsche Universitat in Innsbruck, Austria. He obtained his PhD from the UGM School of Public Health in 2015. He is currently the technical advisor for the Regional Health Department of the Special Region of Yogyakarta.

In 2021, the Talking Indonesia podcast is co-hosted by Dr Charlotte Setijadi from the Singapore Management University, Dr Dave McRae from the University of Melbourne’s Asia Institute, Dr Jemma Purdey from Monash University, and Dr Annisa Beta from the University of Melbourne’s School of Culture and Communication.

Look out for a new Talking Indonesia podcast every fortnight. Catch up on previous episodes here, subscribe via Apple Podcasts or listen via your favourite podcasting app.

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