Hospitals 1910-1930

The period 1910 to 1930 was characterized by an increasing demand for hospital and outpatient services. Looking at the achievements in these 20 years, the dispersion of hospitals over the archipelago implied a better accessibility of these services for the population. The development of local hospitals, especially the ones initiated by munici-palities and charity organizations, promoted decentralization. That the local population benefited from these facilities was obvious by the increasing use of hospital capacity. Political and religious indigenous movements like Moehammadijah joined in procuring free health facilities for the population.
Civilian society generated and maintained umbrella organizations that coordinated care and facilitated the necessary provisions. Two important associations accompanied the establishment of facilities for patients with leprosy and for patients suffering from tuberculosis. Not only the result of private initiatives characterized this period. The pub-lic hospitals were freed from the earlier image of providing rudimentary provisions for criminals and prostitutes. They were converted into well-provided rebuilt facilities with a doctor, some mantri nurses and other personnel with a civil servant status. These for-mer syphilitic and general indigenous hospitals were transformed into government civil hospitals (GBZ). By 1930 a number of 78 had been established. The most striking devel-opment was the phenomenon of company hospitals. Their number increased tenfold, compared to the 1910 numbers, from 32 to 301.
Putting into balance 20 years of building, closing and changing of destination, we may conclude that the joint picture of hospitals focussed much less on Java. The Outer Prov-inces saw an increase in hospital capacity that was more pronounced compared to Java in this period. When comparing the inpatient capacity with population numbers, it ap-pears that Java (41 million) had about 0.3 ‰ beds, whereas the Outer Provinces (18 mil-lion) had 0.55 ‰ beds. As the Outer Provinces covered 85 % of the surface of the Archi-pelago, the availability of hospital beds should be contemplated in the light of popula-tion density as well. The distribution of hospitals and beds in relation to areas and popu-lation will be studied in the next chapter.
Altogether, an important step forward was made in getting hospital care accessible to the population. Unfortunately, little statistic information is available on the 301 com-pany hospitals, but even if we take the smallest bed capacity category for each of them, their joint capacity would exceed 8,000 beds. Adding this capacity to the 14,200 general hospital beds (Statistics KV 1930), the population of the Netherlands Indies could make use of 22,200 hospital beds, equalling 0.38 ‰.
As most of the company hospitals were established in the Outer Provinces and most of the government hospitals on Java and Madoera, the attribution of hospital capacity to either of these territories may only roughly be estimated to be 12,000 beds for Java and 10,000 beds for the Outer Provinces. This result was obtained, partly by political de-cisions (decentralization policy), partly by rational considerations (look at the Djokja model) and for a large part by economic motives.

2 thoughts on “Hospitals 1910-1930

  1. Hello, I am researching a Dr. Baermann who was Chief Doctor and Director of the Central Hospital at “Petoembooekam”, Indonesia. I cannot find this place on Google Maps, and what is this hospital called nowadays? Can you help, please? Thanks.


    • Dear Mr McCloughlin,

      I received your comment and will try to answer it. You may consult my website and find the category General hospitals. Within this category the subcategory Company hospitals and by clicking this you may find the Petumbukan hospital. Located in Pisang Pala Village, Galang District, Kabupaten Deli Serdang. I found a comment that explained the name Petumbukan: The name comes from the confluence of two rivers, namely the Batu Gingging river and the Bah Perak river, which in the Karo language is called ‘ Pertambukan’.
      The hospital had many names lately:
      1. Central Hospital Petoemboekan
      2. Perkebunan V Petumbukan
      3. RS PT. Plantation V Petumbukan
      4. PTPN III Petumbukan Hospital

      The hospital was built between 1905 and 1913 by the Serdang Doctor Fund and was closed in the year 2002.
      You may also consult my maps ( website: category Maps)and in the map 1940 you will find the former whereabouts of the hospital.


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