Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono admitted that the poverty rate in Indonesia was still high, namely 37.1 million people and asked all parties to read the pertinent figures rightly.
"I acknowledge that the poverty rate is still high. Therefore, the government has launched a health improvement and insurance program for the poor (Askeskin)," the president said at a function to mark the 43th National Health Day here on Wednesday.
The president said there were certain quarters who had wrongly put the poverty rate at 76.4 million or twice the government`s figure which was in fact equal to the number of people covered by the Askeskin scheme.
"Let me explain once again. Askeskin is intended not only for the poor but also for those who live near the poverty level," he said.
He said in order to ensure the availability of health services for the people, the government was doubling the capacity of Askeskin services.
"As the mandate holder in this country, I call on all sides to help the implementation of the government`s program to build a healthier society. It is my and our task to create a prosperous society," the president sai
The head of state said that in 2006 Askeskin had covered a total of 110 million patient visits to clinics or hospitals for surgery and nutritional improvement.
He said in order to expand Askeskin`s coverage, the government had called on governors, district heads and mayors to pay attention to Askeskin programs and increase budget allocations for health service in their respective regions.