Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Healthcare in Jakarta: Rumah Sakit Pondok Indah

We moved to Jakarta when I was about 16 weeks pregnant and the first thing I did before coming over was to start searching for a doctor. On my first recon trip over, I got hold of a map of Jakarta and looked up where we were living. There were also expat forums that I'd consulted and one forum had a mum raving about the care she got in Rumah Sakit Pondok Indah (RSPI). I looked it up in the map and it wasn't too far from where we would be living, so I gave it a try.

Now, the word "Rumah Sakit" doesn't exactly inspire confidence in me. This is because that is the old word for hospitals back home in Malaysia and all it does is conjure up images of wooden buildings and an era where the X-ray machine was cutting edge. One visit to RSPI was enough to dispel all my silliness.

RSPI is a private hospital and it's very similar to the Gleneagles and Pantai chain of hospitals that we're used to back home in Malaysia. For those who do not speak B. Indonesia, don't worry, most of the staff can speak English. The hospital is clean, looks well organised, well run and er... priced accordingly. I believe you get what you pay for though and I'm more than happy to pay to ensure competent care for the birth of our first baby.

I've been going there for my monthly check-ups and I have to say I'm quite satisfied with the competence of the staff as well as the level of technology that they have on hand. For example, my doctor here has a far more advanced ultrasound machine compared to my similarly priced gynae back in Gleneagles Ampang. He's competent enough for me and will meticulously check all of Little Monkey's key measurements at each visit. For mums-to-be, be sure to pick a doctor you are comfortable with, someone you don't feel awkward with if you have to ask questions. It's your choice, don't feel afraid to change doctors if you are not comfy with the initial doctor you've seen.

Today, I made a visit to the delivery rooms and maternity wards to have a look at what I could expect come November as I expect to deliver the baby here. The nurse was kind enough to give me a tour and answered any questions I had. Even though we had a slight language problem (I didn't know pre-natal classes here were called "Senam Hamil", lit. pregnancy exercise, I thought it was pre-natal yoga or something!), I could tell that she knew what she was talking about. She told me that the hospital arranges for breastfeeding and babycare classes for mothers and I was very relieved to hear that because I know I'm going to need help. There's also pre-natal classes but they'll only start when I'm past 30 weeks. She also assured me that if I had a problem, I could call the hospital at any time. I can imagine myself calling now, "Help! I can't get his arm into his babygro, what do I do???"

The delivery room was spotless and brightly lit. The nursery where they bring the newborn for the initial check looked the same and the nurses sitting there gave me a smile and wave when I poked my head in... after my belly of course... my belly now leads the way when I walk. I'm really glad to see the staff were competent and attentive and that they had classes for mums and babies so that I can learn more about taking care of the baby and make some friends at the same time.

I then took a walk down to Customer Service where I was greeted pleasantly by a Mrs Christine. I had questions to ask about the baby's birth registration. As we're both foreign residents, we'll have to get the baby's birth registered at the British Embassy (Malaysian mums can't pass on Malaysian citizenship if they give birth on foreign soil) and I was anxious to find out about the paperwork and fees involved. Just as I'd guessed, RSPI has an agent that will handle all the civil registration for the birth as they are used to having foreign residents giving birth there. We'll still have to get the British Embassy registration done by ourselves but I'm sure we can ask the RSPI agents if they know any agents who can do that for us. Getting official paperwork done in Indonesia can be tricky for foreigners who don't speak the language or know who to contact, so it's usually done via agents. They get it all done without hassle for a fee and it's money well spent.

I also got a list of charges for the delivery and stay. They have a variety of packages to suit your budget. Some examples given below for a normal delivery and a 3-night stay, these are approximate charges and do not include extras like an epidural, external consultation and paed's fees:
  • Class C (6 patients to a room): Rp6.8 million
  • Class A (1 patient to a room): Rp10.1 million
  • VIP room (1 patient + foldout bed for dad staying over): Rp13.4 million
  • Suite (1 patient + dining suite + spare bed): Rp22.2 million

Charges are different for an assisted birth as well as a C-section. I generally assume the exchange rate to be Rp10,000 to RM3, although the rupiah has strengthened lately, and multiply accordingly. Don't be freaked out by the millions... when you live in Indonesia, you start to adjust to all the zeroes. I don't know what the corresponding charges are in KL, perhaps someone who knows could just let me know so that I can do a comparison?

Some expat families opt to have their babies delivered in Singapore/Perth and there are plenty of ads and packages that cater for that option. However, I feel that the doctor that I'm seeing is good enough, I have confidence that he knows what to do and from what I've seen of the hospital, I think they know what to do and how to handle my baby if he has any problems.
To be honest, Dear Hubby and I had a discussion on whether I should return to Malaysia for the delivery, more because he thought I would want to have my family around post-delivery. The problem was I would to fly home much earlier as airlines generally don't let you fly past 36 weeks and then I'd be staying put in Malaysia for at least one month before I am willing to travel back to Jakarta. I couldn't see myself depriving my husband of his son or my son of his father for that long, so we decided to stay put in Jakarta.

Well, the way I see it... Indonesia has a population of what.. 235 million? (July 2007 est, source here) You'd think some doctor somewhere in the archipelago would know something about childbirth! Thumbs up to RSPI, I would recommend it to people who are moving to Jakarta and are looking for a hospital that reminds them of Gleneagles, Pantai etc.

For more information on RSPI, please click here.

P/s Please don't tell me snakes get in here when it floods too, like it does in Eastern Promise! :))


  1. Thanks for the entertaining yet informative review. I'm also a foreigner who heeded the call of a dutiful wife who needs to be with her husband.Im due on March 2009 and we are considering RSPI. Though the cost is quite high for me, its the assurance of quality care and service that matter most.

  2. Hi, glad you found it useful. You may also want to check out the Jakarta Women and Children Clinic in Brawijaya for comparison. I go there now for my baby's paed check-ups (partly bec it's just 5 mint away from our house) and I really like the paed we've got.

  3. Hi
    Im also a Malaysian and have just given birth. Am in the process of finding a good paed. Whom do u recommend in The Women and Children clinic as it is 5 mins frm where i live in Darmawangsa too ! Would love a recommendation thanks !

  4. vinnie: Hi there! My fave was Dr Johanes but he's moved to Omni Hospital in Tangerang. We now see Dr Linus and I like him. If you've got an email where I can contact you, could arrange for you to come along with me on Jan 13 and check out the place yourself.

  5. Hi
    My email is Let's get in touch.


  6. Hi MrsTopMonkey!

    Who was your OBGyne at RSPI? I'm now pregnant and seeing a few doctors but i decided to stick with Dr Soemanadi.

  7. Hello!

    May I know who is your obstetrician/gynecologist at RSPI? I'm pregnant now and I've seen three doctors at RSPI. I am not yet decided on which doctor I will stick to. Your response will be a great help.

    Thanks in advance.

  8. Hi jcnun and er... anon... :))

    Dr Soemanadi was my ob-gyn. He's a bit on the quiet side but I was okay with him. My birth story here, he handled my C-section and it was all smooth, I was very pleased with everything ==>

    All the best to you guys in your pregnancy... if you'd like more details, I can email you, no probs.

  9. Hello Mrs. Top Monkey ;)

    Thanks for the reply. It is indeed a great help. May I also know how much budget (money) we need to prepare? If I may ask, how much did you spent when you had your C-section? My email address is

    Thank you so much.

  10. I'm 31 weeks pregnant now and I'm seeing dr aswin. He speaks good English, takes his time to explain everything and is professional. I would recommend him to anyone.

  11. Hi thanks for the reco, a friend was asking for an ob-gyn in RSPI who could speak good English. I'll pass his name along to her.