Agus Jatmika Soegiarto, the owner of Klinik Kehamilan Sehat, knew there were big gaps in the healthcare industry. He was an experienced salesperson for a medical equipment company before he started his own business, and from time to time it became clear to him just how difficult pregnant women’s lives could be because of their financial situation and the lack of affordable pregnancy healthcare for them.
“The doctors tried to provide support for them, but due to lack of business sense, their efforts were not last longer,” said Agus, “Most of them focused only on providing medical services, and sometimes they refused to accept that in order to continue giving best possible care and attention to the patients they had to generate profit too.”
The business sense was fundamental to ensuring sustainability. “You want to help more people, pregnant women especially, with the services that they need. But if there is no profit generated, then it won’t be sustainable. It all will go downhill,” said Agus again.
So, he decided to open his first clinic which combined both medical and business aspects. He took on an executive role, managing the company’s business side while his medical colleagues focused on providing high-quality medical services.
It’s More Than Just Profit
He didn’t deny that at first he was mostly motivated by the potential profit. “The market is vast, and there are high demands in this sector,” said Agus whose also a licensed hypnotherapy specialist.
He was right. His business flourished. In less than 6 years, he already owned 15 clinics and was looking to open another 10. On average, there were about 10,000 patients coming into his clinics every month – sometimes during the weekends, they would have trouble handling all these visits. So, Agus and his team developed a better system for booking appointments through an app downloaded onto the patient’s phones, which gave them access not only to their medical history but also reduced unnecessary spending by allowing them early notification about available time slots in advance of upcoming check-ups or treatments.
His clinics offered an affordable rate. At IDR 200,000 per visit (around 15 USD), patients got USG and consultancy services along with checkups. There were also vaginal birth packages that ranged between IDR 7 to 9 million (around 500 – 600 USD). His clinics were equipped with high-quality medical equipment, all in comfortable rooms to ensure the patients had the best experience possible.
However, over time Agus became more and more aware of how complex pregnancy was. Each woman was different. There were many variables that could affect a person’s outcome during pregnancy, from habits to stress levels and everything else in between. People needed comprehensive care instead of one size fit all approach!
“Unfortunately, the maternal health literacy in Indonesia is still very low, especially among the first-time moms,” he said. Most of his clients thought that they could just go online for information on pregnancy and childbirth when in fact they needed more than just online consultations provided by the clinics. That’s why he always advised his clients to do regular check-ups at clinics as well alongside USG (Ultrasonography) tests which would ensure babies were healthy right away instead of waiting until something happened.
“Education is key to ensure they know the right things during pregnancy. For example, if you fall and you feel like there’s something wrong with the baby, don’t try to figure out whether or not your baby is okay. Contact a doctor as soon as possible, so that everything may be checked over properly,” he said.
The next problem that commonly occurred among pregnant women was their belief system. There are many myths concerning pregnancy that may cause malnutrition, for example, the myth of eating pineapple. “Pineapple is a great fruit to eat, even during pregnancy, as long as you don’t overdo it,” said Agus again.
Campaigning for Healthy Pregnancy in Indonesia
One of Agus concerns about maternal health in Indonesia was the stunting phenomenon. The stunting rate in Indonesia decreased significantly in the last 18 years from 42.4% in 2000 to 31.8% in 2020 (according to WHO Global Health Observatory Data Repository – 2021). However, it’s still considered the second-highest (after Timor Leste which had 48.8% stunting rate), compared to other countries in the Southeast Asia region such as Brunei Darussalam (12.27%), Cambodia (29.9%), Laos (30.2%), Malaysia (20.9%), Myanmar (25.2%), Philipines (28.7%), Singapore (2.8%), Thailand (12.3%), and Viet Nam (22.3%).
In his observation of patients at clinics, Agus found that even those in the middle and upper classes could be affected by stunting due to a lack of information on healthy pregnancy diets or nutritious food choices. He believed this could be prevented if there were more pregnancy clinics available along with maternal health education programs given in nationwide by government initiatives, so everyone would know how important good nutrition during pregnancy was.
“That’s my vision,” he said with a smile on his face, “To help the government to eradicate stunting and provide excellent pregnancy healthcare access for all, no matter where or when you are.” His joy clearly came from realizing that he could make a positive impact on society through his business.
About the Author
Artha Julie Nava is a writer and branding strategist with vast experience in writing, from journalism to ghostwriting. Her specialization includes writing books for her clients, assessing brand digital visibility, teaching, and coaching. She lives with her family in a suburb of Detroit since 2005.