Despite its reputation as a resource-rich country, Indonesia still bears the shame of a problem with stunting, globally having the fifth highest number of cases. The Jakarta Post journalist Moses Ompusunggu examines why Indonesia remains struggling with the issue and what it is doing to address it.

by Moses Ompusunggu

Recently, an auditorium at the Health Ministry in South Jakarta was jam-packed with hundreds of health experts attending a conference called Doctor’s Parade. The day’s star speakers were eight scientists who had just obtained their doctoral degrees from various universities. Among the most awaited presentations from scientists representing government bodies were two nutritionists who would reveal the results of their studies on stunting. The conference took place at a time when Indonesia is struggling to address the chronic health problem. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines stunting as the impaired growth and development that children experience as a result of poor nutrition, repeated infection and inadequate psychosocial stimulation. Undernourishment is the leading cause of stunting. Stunted children have poor cognitive abilities and undersized brains, whic...