Indonesian government launches programmes to combat childhood stunting

By Cheryl Tay contact

- Last updated on GMT

Stunting disproportionately affects the poor in Indonesia. ©Getty Images
Stunting disproportionately affects the poor in Indonesia. ©Getty Images

Related tags: Nutrition

Indonesia's government says it is taking steps to cut the ongoing problem of childhood stunting in the country.

Minister of finance Sri Mulyani Indrawati announced in a LinkedIn post that two new schemes would be launched: Sensitive Nutritional Intervention (Intervensi Gizi Sensitif​), and Specific Nutritional Intervention (Intervensi Gizi Spesifik​).

The Specific Nutritional Intervention programme will focus on infants' first thousand days of life, providing food and medication for mother and child before and after childbirth, as well as offering family planning services and health education.

The Sensitive Nutritional Intervention programme, on the other hand, will be responsible for funding social welfare, education, clean water, and improved sanitation.

More funding, less stunting

In the same post, the minister wrote: "Stunting has weakened too many children’s futures before they even begin."

She added that in the past decade, Indonesia's mandatory health allowance had increased from an average 3% of the state budget to 5%.

Furthermore, the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Social Affairs has set aside Rp25.5 trillion for social welfare initiatives. This amount is set to increase next year to fund more of such programmes.

Sri Mulyani told Indonesian media, "Children who suffer stunting caused by malnutrition are likely to perform poorly and drop out of school earlier than their better nourished peers.

"Moreover, stunting also limits their future earnings."

Poor conditions

Childhood stunting has presented significant problems for Indonesia: from 2007 to 2013, the percentage of stunted children within the lower-middle class rose from 41% to 48%.

Stunting disproportionately affects the poor, in part due to their close contact with fowl and exposure to fowl faeces in the rural areas of the country where many of them reside.

Last year, World Bank VP for East Asia and Pacific, Victoria Kwakwa, said nine million children below the age of five suffered from stunting in the country.

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