Universal Health Coverage project in Indonesia


The United Nations (UN), the World Health Organization (WHO) and more than 500 healthcare organizations have called on governments in developing countries to implement universal health coverage (UHC). Implementation of UHC will improve access to medical care and thus improve the health and productivity of their population. However, until now only a few countries have responded to this international call.



Indonesia is one of the few developing countries that started a very ambitious plan to implement UHC for its 254 million inhabitants. The aim of the Indonesian government is to make medical care accessible and affordable for all Indonesians. The main reason for the failure of childhood cancer treatments in Indonesia is the premature abandonment of expensive therapy, especially among the poor population.


Facts & figures

  • Every year, 170-180 children with cancer are diagnosed at our partner hospital in Indonesia, the Dr. Sardjito Hospital in Yogyakarta. The aim of this research is to provide insight into the impact of the implementation of UHC by the Indonesian government on the survival chances of children with cancer.

  • Project leader in Yogyakarta, Indonesia is Dr. Mei Neni Sitaresmi (pediatrician).

  • Project leaders from the Princess Máxima Center in the Netherlands are Prof. Gertjan Kaspers (pediatric oncologist) and Dr. Saskia Mostert (research coordinator).

  • The project is carried out by the Indonesian researcher Braghmandita Widya Indraswari in collaboration with two Dutch medical students.


  • The study compares the treatment outcome of children with cancer before and after the introduction of UHC.

  • In total, the files of 1040 children with cancer were studied.

  • After the introduction of UHC, we see that the number of insured children has increased from 38% to 82%.

  • It also appears that the number of children who stop treatment prematurely decreases and that the chances of survival increase significantly after the introduction of UHC, especially among poor patients.



Based on this research, it can be concluded that the introduction of UHC by the Indonesian government contributes significantly to improved treatment outcomes and survival chances of children with cancer. This is very promising news. It is an inspiring step forward in the pursuit of a world where every child with cancer has access to medical care and a chance for survival.