Indonesia’s medical equipment industry needs innovation and creation to overcome pandemic challenges

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National webinar # 15 UNAIR Faculty of Pharmacy on Saturday, October 17, 2020. (Photo: Intang Arifia)

UNAIR NEWS – The Covid-19 pandemic encourages the pharmaceutical sector to play a significant part in health disaster management efforts. This issue prompted the Faculty of Pharmacy (FF) Universitas Airlangga (UNAIR) to hold a national webinar on Saturday, October 17, 2020. Highlighting the challenges of the industry and the regulation of medical equipment, UNAIR Faculty of Pharmacy invited three speakers from industry, academics, and hospitals.

In the discussion, it was discovered that the Indonesian medical equipment industry had experienced a production crisis due to the huge demand. As a result, serious challenges arise in the aspects of distribution, production processes, fuel supply, also implementing health protocols in companies, and preventing the circulation of counterfeit products. They made the prices of medical equipment such as masks and hand sanitizers rose in the early months of the pandemic.

“The countries that experienced the pandemic first immediately stopped their exports. In fact, Indonesia only has two companies producing face mask equipment, which ultimately have to stock up on the mask-making industry throughout Indonesia, ”said Leonard Hariadi Hartanto, Operational Director of PT Jayamas Medika Industri.

Meanwhile Drs. apt. Muhammad Arif Zaidi as Head of Household Medical Equipment and Health Supplies Section, the East Java Provincial Health Office (Dinkes), highlighted the policy on controlling and supervising medical equipment. As a country that has a medical equipment regulatory framework, Indonesian medical equipment production must be standardized on safety, quality, benefits, efficiency, and affordability.

Unfortunately, until now there are still many medical equipment manufacturers and distributors who have not followed the product standards from the Health Office. The problem of developing medical equipment is also hampered by the limited number of accredited laboratories in East Java.

On the other hand, the hospital sector as users of medical equipment explained that many of them had redesigned their medical needs considering the significant changes due to the pandemic.

“During pandemic, there is an increasing need for suction catheters, HME filters, catheter mouths, close suction masks, and PPE. Due to the difficulty in fulfilling the need, we finally tried to expand the procurement sources outside the main procurement. The price is also getting more expensive,” explained apt. Nur Fauzi Hamidi, S.Farm as Head of UNAIR Hospital Pharmacy Installation (RSUA).

From the webinar, the speakers reminded industrial players to work creatively and innovatively to provide good service to the community. In the realm of the hospital apt. Nur Fauzi invited pharmacists to be able to be responsive and create appropriate managerial and functional mechanisms so that medical equipment needs are still met.

Meanwhile, Health Office as the center for provisioning, monitoring, licensing, and assessment is now developing digital access in its operations. “There is a procurement of e-report, e-watch, and e-catalog which functions as a data center and reference for all monitoring, production and distribution lines of medical equipment,” explained Drs. Arif.

In the webinar held via Zoom and streamed on YouTube, UNAIR Dean of Faculty of Pharmacy Prof. apt. Junaidi Khotib, M.Kes., Ph.D. in his opening remarks also emphasized that the cross-sectoral discussion in the webinar is very much needed to broaden pharmacists’ knowledge when they are already involved in the field. The event which was attended by more than 1000 participants was the 15th webinar in a series of national webinar series held by Faculty of Pharmacy.

Author: Intang Arifia

Editor: Khefti Al Mawalia

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