The Jakarta Post
Housewives living near the Cisaranten Kidul Community Health Center (Puskesmas) in Bandung, West Java, have proven that helping a fellow human being can be done in a simple way.
They are striving to fight malnutrition among children under 5 years old in their neighborhood with the establishment of the Cooking Center Omaba, an ojek (motorcycle taxi) community for baby food delivery services.
Supported by knowledge from lecturers at the Bandung Polytechnic for Health Science‘s School of Nutrition, these housewives have developed 10 recipes for healthy meals they deliver to houses with malnourished under-5 children.
“We not only deliver the foods but we also sometimes feed those babies. We continue to monitor their condition for nine months,” said Omaba member Marliyani, 51, in a recent interview in Bandung.
The initiative began after several cases of malnourished under-5 children emerged. Puskesmas Cisaranten Kulon head Soni Sondari said there were 23 malnourished children in Gedebage district, Bandung, in 2012, several of whom lived near his working area.
Initially, the malnourished under-5 children were provided with baby formula. However, it was later discovered that the families receiving the assistance had instead sold the formula, reasoning that they could use the money to buy food for entire family.
“On account of the incidents, we decided that it would be better for us to provide healthy meals for the babies. We then gathered and developed recipes for the malnourished babies,” said Cisaranten Kidul health committee head Vita Fhinera Wijaya.
To run the program, the Omaba community has received funds from the Bandung Health Agency and state-owned oil and gas company Pertamina’s corporate social responsibility program.
“The assistance from the Bandung administration is enough only for three months. Pertamina provides funds for the following three months and a motorcycle we use to distribute the meals,” said Vita. Every day, two Omaba members deliver healthy meals for the malnourished children.
Vice President Jusuf Kalla has lauded the initiatives of the Omaba community. At the end of May, Bandung Deputy Mayor Oded M.Dahnial represented the community when it was named among the 35 Top National Public Service Innovations for 2016 in the regency and municipality category. (ebf)
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