The Jakarta Post
Despite massive campaigns in the past five years, the government has failed to convince more people to use contraceptives, a survey has shown.
The newly issued 2012 Indonesian Health and Demography Survey (SDKI) report shows that the use of contraceptives (all methods) among couples of reproductive age in the country stands at 61.9 percent.
It is a slight increase from 61.4 percent in 2007.
“We still have a low increase in the contraceptive prevalence rate, growing only 0.5 percent over five years,” acting National Population and Family Planning Board (BKKBN) chairman Subagyo said here on Monday.
Speaking to journalists, Subagyo said the survey indicated that the agency had failed to achieve its targets.
“If you ask me how I feel, I’m really disappointed. I have worked hard day and night,” he said, adding that the survey’s results showed that the agency needed to rethink its strategies.
Increasing the number of field information officers in the family planning program (PLKB) will become one of strategies the agency will consider in an effort to reach its targets.
Up until 2000, the number of PLKB officers throughout the country reached almost 36,000 but sharply decreased to 21,000 during decentralization. With autonomy leading to the family planning program being less of a priority, many field workers switched to other careers.
Currently, one field officer working on family planning education visits four villages, while a maximum of two villages is the ideal ratio. In Papua, one field officer serves 42 villages, BKKBN data shows.
“We hope to see more people working as PLKB officers because the success of our family planning program depends on them. They are the champions of the country’s family planning program because they are the ones who best understand who needs contraceptives,” said Subagyo.
The survey, conducted jointly by the BKKBN and the Central Statistics Agency (BPS), also reveals that 8.5 percent of contraceptive needs remain unfulfilled.
The agency hopes to reduce the percentage to 5 percent by 2015. In 2007, the figure stood at 9.1 percent.
Indonesia has a fertility rate of 2.6 children per woman in 2012. The rate is projected to decrease to 2.1 children per woman by 2015.
Meanwhile, BKKBN acceptors management director Julianto Witjaksono said the results of the 2012 survey showed that the BKKBN remained unable to win support for family planning at the local levels despite increased resources.
The government has allocated Rp 1.6 trillion (US$166.06 million) annually for family planning programs in 2010-2014, up from the Rp 500 billion in the previous period.
He said only a few local administrations paid enough attention to family planning programs. “Many regents show little concern for the well-being that their own people may get through family planning,” Julianto said.
“We have to accelerate communication, information and education programs on family planning by, among other things, improving the information [PLKB] system, which completely broke down when autonomy was introduced,” he added.
The 2007 survey targeted women who were married or once married aged between 15 to 49 years as the main respondents whereas the 2012 survey targeted fertile women aged 15 to 49 years, including single women.