"We are extremely grateful for the RESPOND project's support, which allows us to continue providing reproductive healthcare to all, particularly women and girls, who have been disproportionately impacted by limited access to sexual and reproductive (SRH) health services,” says Dr Teza Farida, ProCare's SRH specialist.
ProCare Clinic is a sexual and reproductive healthcare facility dedicated to serving poor, marginalised, socially excluded, and underserved (PMSEU) communities in Jakarta, administered by the Indonesian Planned Parenthood Association (IPPA). Services offered at the clinic include contraception, breast, and cervical cancer screening, HIV and STI (sexually transmitted infections) testing, obstetrics and gynaecology, and sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) counselling.
Lockdowns and targeted mobility restrictions in Jakarta during the peak of the pandemic made it difficult for the clinic to obtain critical commodities and supplies, such as contraception and HIV-related medicines. The number of patients visiting the clinic fell, resulting in a decrease in revenue and directly impacting the clinic’s ability to provide vital SRH services to those in need.
The technical and financial assistance provided by the Australian government-funded RESPOND project came at a critical time for the struggling clinic, as demand for SRH services was evident. While district health centres (puskesmas) across Indonesia were overwhelmed by the need to respond to pandemic-related emergencies, putting enormous strain on government facilities, the ProCare team was able to get back on its feet, resolve licencing issues, hire counsellors, and ramp up its services.
“We are grateful to the ProCare team for stepping up in times of crisis to address the unmet SRH needs of underserved urban communities around the Greater Jakarta area, in accordance with the National Population and Family Planning Board's (BKKBN) strategic framework for accelerating reproductive health services,” said Dr Dina Wijayanti, Head of Community Health Unit, Puskesmas Duren Sawit district, Jakarta.
In June 2022, IPPA welcomed Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls, Ms Christine Clarke CSC to officiate the refurbished clinic. Ambassador Clarke spent time touring the clinic and meeting with the team delivering essential SRH services. “We are proud to support IPPA’s tireless advocacy for the fulfilment of SRHR, particularly to women, girls, and disadvantaged groups throughout Indonesia,” she said.
Since the Ambassadors' visit, services have been expanded to include vaccinations and free family planning counselling for refugees in Jakarta. Indonesia is a transit country for refugees, mostly from Afghanistan, followed by Somalia, Myanmar, Iraq, and Sudan. The Greater Jakarta metropolitan area is home to the vast majority of the country's refugee population.
"I had no idea where to turn for help. As a father with two young children, I was also afraid of going to crowded places. I appreciate the ProCare team's assistance in providing COVID-19 vaccination and free counselling," says Muhammad Yama, a Somali refugee living in Tangerang. Tangerang, located on Jakarta's western outskirts, is the third largest urban centre in Greater Jakarta.
Refugees like Muhammad face several barriers in obtaining COVID-19 vaccination and other services due to a lack of documentation, information in their native language, and fear of arrest, detention, or deportation. Too often, underserved communities fall through the cracks in the healthcare system. ProCare clinic remains committed to providing family planning and SRH services to all.