Developing Papua III: A Human Development Perspective

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Development in Papua is implemented simultaneously in several sectors and human development is a part of it. Dealing with human flourishing, human development is no less important than any other aspect of development such as economic and social. The more flourished Papuans are, the more they can explore their potentials, which in turn, turn them into a quality human resource.

Generally, human development refers to any development idea or program which focuses on how people can enlarge their freedom to get opportunities and increase their own well-being. If economic development focuses on providing more job opportunities, human development focuses on how people can use those opportunities for good.

To be able to do so, they need the freedom to make a decision and have enough knowledge and skill to seize the opportunity. The implementation of human development in Papua has moved toward this direction as reflected in some of the strategies below.

Education Provision

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Education is still one of the main issues in both Papua and West Papua Provinces. Due to the economic situation and geographical accessibility, many students in both provinces are still unable to attend school. This becomes a legitimate reason for the government to encourage education across the provinces.

Education held in Papua is based on the major problems in the region. Commonly, there are six main issues of education in Papua, those are kindergarten and public education, quality of education, teachers and educational staffs’ problems, curriculum, and student national examination. To provide a better education in Papua, the government tries to solve those issues.

What does education have something to do with human development?

Education is a direct way to enhance people’s abilities—which are then used to help them survive and create a better life for themselves. Moreover, fundamentally, human development is about providing more choices, which means that the opportunities to get a better living available for Papuans are choices, not something that is forced.

Papuans can choose which opportunity which suitable them the most, not being forced to accept every development program the government or other stakeholders makes. Education plays a significant role in encouraging people to choose what is the best for themselves.

Healthcare Provision

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Healthcare is the key to human development. You cannot expect people to get a decent living if they cannot get healthcare when they need it. In Papua, many people become more vulnerable when they are sick. Due to sickness, many people in the province are unable to work. Consequently, they cannot generate income and afford a decent living.

To solve such problem, there are two strategies which are taken by the government in Papua, those are: providing healthcare and giving Papuans access to it. These two strategies are fundamentals in determining people’s well-being.

Healthcare provision in Papua is highly necessary, especially in term of medical staffs and doctors. In 2017, there were 12,000 medical staffs across Papua province but the number is not adequate since according to the Health Agency of Papua, the region needs around additional 36,000 medical staffs. The situation in West Papua is also similar to this, which makes staff recruitment in both provinces become one of the government priorities.

Beside the staffs, health provision must come with necessary facilities such as hospital and health centers. Papuans must be given access to these facilities. Free access is particularly important for the poor because otherwise, they cannot afford healthcare on their own.

At the moment, there are around 724 health facilities which are associated with Indonesia National Health Insurance (known as BPJS), which means that these facilities are accessible by the poor. Moreover, knowing that many Papuans are inland, there is an additional access given specifically for Papuans. The name of the program is Kartu Papua Sehat, a card which gives access to around 3.9 million Papuans including those who are inland.

Decent Standard of Living

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The success of human development is supposed to be seen from Papuans’ well-being. Your well-being must meet a decent standard of living. Even though the standard is different from one area to another, with the most apparent difference is between the city and rural area, you can be considered decent only if you can get your basic needs fulfilled.

Stakeholders make human development programs in accordance with what most people need the most to get a decent standard of living. Normally, decent standard of living includes foods, clothes, housing, education, health, and transportation. It means that human development must be done simultaneously, not only in education and health sector but also in other sectors which matter the most for Papuans.

In Papua, such human development program is particularly important because Human Development Index (HDI) in both provinces of Papua is lower than the average in Indonesia. In 2010-2015, West Papua’s HDI was at 61.73, while Papua’s was at 57.25, both lower than the national average within the same period, which was at 69.55. The HDI shows that Papua needs human development more than many other regions in the country.