The Jakarta Post
Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati walked down memory lane when talking about stunting in Indonesia during an event held by the World Bank in Jakarta on Thursday.
She recalled a period when she was the bank’s managing director and the World Bank president at that time, Jim Yong-kim, used to criticize the Indonesian government’s shortcomings in handling stunting.
"The World Bank president is a doctor and he said to me: 'Your country is among the top ranking countries with stunting', but at the time I did not know what stunting was," said the minister.
“The World Bank boss used to rib me, the World Bank managing director. He specifically ribbed me about [the stunting] issues,” Sri Mulyani said while laughing.
She later asked then-vice president Jusuf Kalla about the issue, and after that the government became aware of the extent of stunting in the country and started devising programs to eliminate it. Since then, the government has stepped up efforts to fight stunting.
Stunting is a condition of impaired growth that occurs in children under 5 years old due to chronic malnutrition, repeated infections and inadequate psychosocial stimulation in their first 1,000 days of life.
According to data from the Health Ministry’s 2013 Basic Health Survey, 37.2 percent of Indonesian children under the age of 5, or around 9 million kids, were considered stunted.
A report by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the International Food Research Institute (IFPRI), with support from the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas), revealed that 22 million people in the country suffered from chronic hunger between 2016 and 2018.
Sri Mulyani said on Thursday that collaboration between ministries had become the government’s main strategy to address stunting in the country.
“Together with Bappenas we are making efforts to ensure that the problem of stunting is resolved,” she stressed.
Editor's note: This article has been revised to change the word "shame" to "rib" in the heading and the story for accuracy.