India seeks lessons on family planning
The successes claimed in Yogyakarta in dealing with family planning and reproductive health issues prompted an entourage from the Rajasthan health ministry from India to visit the city.
Their three-day tour, which ended Friday, saw them visit institutions, hospitals, community health centers (Puskesmas) and integrated health service posts (Posyandu).
They also held talks with the local community and religious leaders.
They also had a discussion with representatives of the PKU Muhammadiyah hospital and the Yogyakarta Municipal Religious Affairs Office about pre-wedding counseling, family planning, reproductive health and HIV/AIDS issues in relation to population control.
“We are glad to be here and hope we can learn from your experience,” Rajasthan health minister Aimaduddin Ahmad Duru Miyan told The Jakarta Post.
Aimaduddin said family planning programs were a challenge to his country and that Indonesia and India had much in common, particularly having large populations.
“We have found some interesting suggestions and some other points we can learn from,” he said.
He said he learned about the role of religious leaders in family planning and the community participation in reproductive health issues.
“We visited some community centers where volunteers, especially women, work with mothers and newborn babies. I think it‘s a very noble concept of community participation,” he said, adding that it complimented the role of NGOs.
Yogyakarta was the second stopover for the Rajasthan entourage after Jakarta. He also dropped by Bali before leaving on Sunday. The visit was facilitated by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
“This is part of the South-South cooperation,” UNFPA Indonesia program manager Samijo said.
Yogyakarta was chosen as one of the pilot projects because of its success in dealing with family planning and reproductive health issues.
“Mothers of reproductive age in Yogyakarta give birth to 1.8 babies on average, much lower than the national figure of 2.4 children. This shows that family planning and reproductive health programs run very well here,” Samijo said.
Mukhtar Bakti from the National Family Planning Board (BKKBN) said that so far this year, delegates from Jordan, North Korea and Pakistan have visited. “We have received a total of over 5,000 delegates from different countries for studies on family planning in Indonesia since 1987,” Mukhtar said.
— JP/Sri Wahyuni