The Jakarta Post
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has instructed all relevant ministers to develop an integrated action plan to eliminate stunting in Indonesia, which is among the five countries with the highest number of stunting cases in the world.
Stunting, Jokowi said, posed a threat to the government's program on human capital development, given that stunted children have poor cognitive abilities that would likely hamper their productivity and creativity.
"I want an integrated action plan that produces concrete outcomes, which includes intervention in dietary habits, parenting and sanitation," Jokowi told ministers at a Cabinet meeting on Thursday.
For the last three years, the government has provided nutritious biscuits for pregnant mothers and toddlers. However, Jokowi told his ministers that it was not enough to tackle undernourishment and therefore the campaign should add fish, eggs, milk and green beans.
The President said the government must consolidate efforts with the Family Welfare Movement and revitalize integrated health service posts in rural areas, while at the same time ensure public access to proper sanitation and clean water facilities.
Almost 8 million children suffer from stunting. In 2014, the Health Ministry found that 28.9 percent of children under 5 years old were stunted. This figure increased in 2015 to 29 percent but decreased in 2016 to 27.5 percent, only to experience another increase in 2017 to 29.6 percent.
The government has pledged to reduce this figure to 28 percent by 2019. (ipa)