Indonesian Doctor Lets Poor Patients Pay For Health Care WIth Rubbish

Gamal Albinsaid may be a hero of our time.

Through an initiative called Garbage Clinical Insurance (GCI), he has pioneered a vision that offers poor Indonesians health care in return for recycled rubbish.

And in case you hadn't noticed, rubbish is a currency Indonesia has in abundance.

The GCI, a micro-insurance program, allows poor residents in Malang to collect and drop off trash in exchange for funds that pay for medical insurance. By turing organic trash into compost, and recycling bottles and cardboard, the physician can treat those in need.

2kg of plastics earns GCI roughly Rp.10,000 (USD$1), which is enough for one patient to get basic health services for two monthly visits to the clinic.

GCI has been running for 2 years now, and it's five clinics help roughly 3,500 patients gain access to health care. 

Aman Rochman / Getty Images

Aman Rochman / Getty Images

But Albinsaid is more than a medical philanthropist - he is also an eco-warrior.

"We're changing people's perceptions and habits towards garbage," he says. "I believe if the positives of this problem are made known, it will excite a lot more people into adopting it."

Albinsaid is right to be worried about the nations trash epidemic.  Residents that live along Indonesia's coasts generated 3.22 million tons of mismanaged plastic waste in 2010...

 That is 10 percent of the world's total!

Indonesia is currently implementing the largest centralised, single-payer health care system in the world. And while 60% of Indonesians don't have any medical insurance, for the time being at least - One man's rubbish is another man's golden ticket to health care.