On May 31, the Tzu Chi Foundation broke ground on its first general hospital overseas – a 528-bed facility in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. It will be the first hospital in the country able to transplant bone marrow and will help to alleviate a severe shortage of beds, especially for those on low incomes.
Built on a site of 2.68 hectares, it will have a main building with 21 storeys covering nearly 99,000 square metres, together with a block next door with apartments for 1,250 doctors. Both are due to completion in 2018. They are located next to the other Tzu Chi facilities in the capital.
Indonesia has 240 million people, making it the fourth largest country in the world in terms of population. But its medical infrastructure is very backward, with one hospital bed for every 1,000 people, far below the world average of 3.6. As a result, its hospitals are overcrowded and their equipment is old and outdated. From 2013, the Indonesian branch of Tzu Chi began to plan the new hospital. The event on May 31 marked the fruition of their efforts.
Ground-breaking ceremony marking the historic milestone
About 2,000 people attended the ground-breaking ceremony, with members of Tzu Chi from eight countries and regions, including Taiwan, Malaysia and the Philippines and all parts of Indonesia. All had come to witness this historic milestone in the foundation’s medical mission – its first general hospital outside Taiwan. Among the guests were Dharma Masters from the Jingsi Abode in Hualien, the home of the foundation. Also there to present their congratulations were Dr Lin Chun-lung, chief executive of the foundation’s medical mission, the Governor of Jakarta and the Commander of the Indonesian National Armed Forces.
In his address, the Governor of Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, said: “I hope this general hospital will go on to help save lives. As the capital of Indonesia, citizens turn to Jakarta for their medical needs, because we have the best medical service available.”
In his address, the Commander of the National Armed Forces, General Moeldoko, thanked the members of Tzu Chi for their humanitarian spirit. “I want to express my gratitude and respect for Tzu Chi’s volunteers. Tzu Chi has done much regarding the provision of humanitarian aid. I very much identify with what Master Cheng Yen has said, ‘Inspire earnest integrity in people, to create blessings in live’. That is our common goal.”
It will be the first general hospital in Indonesia able to perform transplant of bone marrow. Its other departments will include palliative care, neurology, treatment of cancer, and health care of women and children.
Liu Su-mei, chief executive of the Indonesian branch of Tzu Chi, said: “Currently, there is no bone marrow donation in Indonesia. Patients have to go to Singapore or other countries for treatment, and it often take as long as one year away from home. We hope that we (the Tzu Chi hospital) will have the bone marrow transplant technology, so that Indonesia can have bone marrow donations and people do not have to go abroad.”
For the design, the foundation hired a team from Japan to build the hardware for the hospital. It will not only use a great deal of natural light but also will be able to withstand an earthquake of nine on the Richter scale.
Training people – software and hardware must work together
For the volunteers, the hospital’s hardware and equipment is not the only important thing. Since 2013, they have been providing scholarship for the training of medical expertise. Last year, in the Great Love Village in Cengkareng, they built a dormitory for the nurses. They hope that this will relieve the staff of the need to worry about where they can live.
Kuo Tsai-yuan, deputy chief executive of the Indonesian branch, said: “before we built the hospital, we hoped to build apartments so that the nurses can make good preparation. This is because human resources are more important than hardware.”
Behind the main building will be apartments for 1,250 doctors due to completion with the hospital in 2018. The hope of the new hospital is to build up a strong team of medical professionals capable of treating major ailments, at the same time provide care for low-income people and raise the quality of medical services in Indonesia.
In his address, the Governor of Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, expressed the need for more people to assist the poor that still tends to be the majority in the society. The local government also have future plans to serve the community. 【Photo: Liao Huang-lung】
Inside the Jing Si Hall, about 2000 people from 8 countries witness this historic moment. 【Photo by: Anand Yahya】
Dharma masters from the Jing Si Abode in Hualien graced the ground-breaking ceremony. 【Photo by: Hadi Pranoto】