Leading Causes Of Death In Indonesia

Healthcare facilities in Indonesia needs to undergo major improvements to save more lives.
Healthcare facilities in Indonesia needs to undergo major improvements to save more lives.

Health in Indonesia

Indonesia is a Southeast Asian island nation made up of more than 13,000 islands. It is considered a developing economy and has a population size of approximately 257.5 million. As of 2013, 29% of the population is younger than 15 years, and only 8% is over 60. Just over half of the inhabitants reside in urban areas, and only 67% of births are registered. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the life expectancy at birth is approximately 71 years.

Leading Causes of Death

Epidemiological conditions develop within one of four categories: Pestilence and Famine, Receding Pandemics, Degenerative and Man-Made Diseases, and Delayed Degenerative Diseases. These categories, in turn, follow the stages of economic development which range from agrarian to industrial to postindustrial. As industry changes within a nation, lifestyles also change and contribute to health problems. Indonesia is currently experiencing the Degenerative and Man-Made Diseases stage of epidemiological change which is identified by its leading causes of death.


Responsible for 21.2% of all deaths, stroke is the number one killer in Indonesia. It is responsible for 328,500 deaths per year. The government has invested in public education initiatives and increased stroke units in an attempt to prevent stroke-related deaths in response. The frequency of these deaths could be related to a prevalence of high blood pressure (hypertension) as well as tobacco smoking habits.

Ischemic Heart Disease

Ischemic heart disease, also known as coronary artery disease, is the second leading cause of deaths, taking 138,400 lives every year. This figure represents 8.9% of all deaths. Coronary diseases occur when blood flow to the heart is reduced, usually by obstruction. Often, this results in heart attack. Poor diet, excessive alcohol consumption, and high blood pressure are some of the underlying factors with this condition. Given that the typical Indonesian diet is higher in cholesterol than other Asian countries, it could explain this particular disease. As the economy continues to develop, the westernized diet will become more prevalent and potentially lead to increases in coronary artery disease-related deaths.


The third most common cause of death in Indonesia is diabetes. This disease causes 100,400 deaths annually, responsible for 6.5% of all deaths. Diabetes is another condition closely related to diet and exercise although genetics also plays a role in the likelihood of development of this disease. Prevalence of this diagnosis is higher in adults aged 20 to 50 years than the global average.

Other leading causes of death can be seen in the chart below.

Access to Health Care

As with most developing nations of the world, access to health care is limited for people living in Indonesia. The government spends roughly 3% of the gross domestic product (GDP) on healthcare services. The 257.5 million residents have access to 2,454 hospitals, of which only 882 are publicly owned. Less than 1 physician, 0.2 to be exact, is available for every 1,000 inhabitants. That number increases to 1.2 for nurses and midwives. The majority of the population does not have health insurance and must pay out of pocket for healthcare services. When people can reach a hospital or clinic, they are faced with aging equipment and a lack of health professionals. These conditions make it difficult to educate the public about preventative measure against these prominent diseases.

Leading Causes Of Death In Indonesia

RankCause Of Death% Of Total Deaths, 2012Number Of Deaths (in thousands)
1Stroke 21.2%328.5
2Ischemic Heart Disease 8.9%138.4
4Lower Respiratory Infections 5.2%81.1
6Cirrhosis 3.2%48.9
7Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 3.1%48.1
8Road Injury 2.9%44.6
9Hypertensive Heart Disease2.7%42.2
10Kidney Diseases2.6%41

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