Indonesia moves to tackle stunting in children

Government introduces nutritional intervention programmes focusing on early childhood development.

The Indonesian Government has kickstarted two programmes to alleviate stunting in early life. Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Minister of Finance of Indonesia, announced in a LinkedIn post that the country has launched two schemes called the Specific Nutritional Intervention (Intervensi Gizi Spesifik) and Sensitive Nutritional Intervention (Intervensi Gizi Sensitif). “Stunting has weakened too many children’s futures before they even begin”, she wrote in her post. The Specific Nutritional Intervention programme targets the first thousand days of life, and provides food and medicine before, during and after childbirth for both mother and baby. It also provides health education and family planning. The Sensitive Nutritional Intervention programme funds development outside of the health sector, such as better sanitation, clean water, social welfare and education. The mandatory budget for health in Indonesia is now 5% of the state budget, an increase from 3% on average in the last ten years, Minister Sri Mulyani said. She also announced that the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Social affairs have committed Rp25.5 trillion (~$73.65 million) to social welfare programmes, and the social welfare budget and subsequent programs will be increased in the 2018 budget. “Children who suffer stunting caused by malnutrition are likely to perform poorly and drop out of school earlier than their better nourished peers,” she added. “Moreover, stunting also limits their future earnings.” Stunting in the lower-middle class society in Indonesia has increased from 41% to 48% in 2007 and 2013 respectively, she said. Image by Jonathan LinCC BY 2.0