The Ministry of Health places emphasis on preventive work, while private initiative is encouraged in the curative field. Only 1% of the GDP goes to public health expenditures (1990–95). National health programs, of which family planning is an important part, stress the building of small and healthy families. Eradication of contagious diseases focuses on malaria, rabies, elephantiasis, tuberculosis, cholera, and leprosy. Filariasis is widespread. This tropical disease is endemic in remote rural areas. The World Health Organization reported cholera active in Indonesia. Malaria is also endemic to the country; in 1994 there were 140,559 cases of malaria. The incidence of the disease was 729 per 100,000 population in 1996. There were also 49,647 cases of tuberculosis. In 1999, there were 282 cases of tuberculosis per 100,000 people. Overcrowded cities, poor sanitation, impure water supplies, substandard urban housing, and dietary deficiencies are contributing factors to health problems. In 2000, 76% of the population had access to safe drinking water and 56% had adequate sanitation.
Average life expectancy in 2000 was 66 years for men and women. The 2000 infant mortality rate was 41 per 1,000 live births. The overall death rate was estimated at 6.3 per 1,000 in 2002. The maternal mortality rate was 450 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1998. Malnutrition was present in 42% of all children under five years of age as of 2000. As of September 1995, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported 130,988 deaths of children under five from diarrheal diseases. The estimated goiter rate was 27.7 per 100 school-age children in 1996.
Indonesia has received much help from the UN, particularly through WHO and UNICEF, in solving health problems. The Ministry of Health is seeking to build up a health service, starting at the village level with a hygiene officer, who is an official of the village, and working up through groups of villages, with more facilities and better trained personnel, to the regional doctor, who directs the curative and preventive work.
In 1990, there were 25,752 doctors, 98,842 nurses, and 6,689 midwives. More than one-third of the country's doctors practice in Jakarta and other big cities. In 1990–95, 80% of the population had access to health care services. Tobacco consumption has increased from 1.4 kg (3.1 lbs) in 1984–86 to1.6 kg (3.5 lbs) a year per adult in 1995.
In 1991, Indonesia had 1,552 hospitals, with about 120,711 beds (one bed per 1,515 people in 1994). In addition, there were 5,656 public health centers. As of 1999, there were an estimated0.2 physicians and 0.7 hospital beds per 1,000 people. In the same year, total health care expenditure was estimated at 1.6% of GDP.
Indonesia's birth rate was an estimated 21.9 per 1,000 people as of 2002. About 57% of married women (ages 15 to 49) were using contraception as of 2000. A total of 40% of all Indonesian children under five were underweight in the years 1990–95. Immunization rates for 1997 for children up to one year of age were as follows: tuberculosis, 100%; diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus, 91%; polio, 90%; and measles, 92%. In 1995 the government paid 100% of the entire vaccine bill.
As of 1999, the number of people living with HIV/AIDS was estimated at 52,000 and deaths from AIDS that year were estimated at 3,100. HIV prevalence was 0.05 per 100 adults.