A district in Indonesia has begun tracking spending data to improve primary health services for residents.

Bondowoso district in East Java has over 70,000 citizens, but it did not know how much money it was spending on health services for them.

The district health office is now keeping “health accounts”, tracking and analysing what health programmes the district spends on.

Dr Mohd Imron

By analysing this data, officials discovered that not enough is spent on preventing illnesses. “Health funding in the district is still directed to curative care, rather than to promotional and preventive efforts”, said Dr Mohd Imron, Acting Head, Bondowoso district health office. If this continued, it could massively increase the costs of healthcare in the future.

Officials also found that less than 10% of the district’s budget was being spent on healthcare – a minimum requirement for districts in Indonesia.

Bondowoso’s health office was able to use this new data as evidence to get an increase in health funding. It has also now prioritised money for better primary health services, particularly for maternal and child care.

This project was a partnership between the Indonesian and Australian governments, through the joint Health Systems Strengthening Programme.