Child stunting is a significant public health issue in Indonesia. Stunting refers to impaired growth and development in children due to chronic undernutrition during the first 1,000 days of life, from conception until the age of two. Stunting can have long-term consequences, including cognitive and developmental delays, reduced productivity, and increased risk of chronic diseases later in life.
According to the 2020 Indonesia Health Profile, the national prevalence of stunting among children under five years old is 27.7%, with the highest rates in eastern Indonesia. This is a significant improvement from 2013, when the prevalence of stunting was at 37.2%. However, despite this progress, Indonesia still has one of the highest rates of stunting in the world, with an estimated 9.8 million children under five affected.
The Indonesian government has set a target to reduce the prevalence of stunting to 14% by 2024. To achieve this goal, various efforts have been made to improve maternal and child health, including increasing access to nutritious food, promoting breastfeeding, and improving sanitation and hygiene practices. Non-governmental organizations such as YUM (Yayasan Usaha Mulia), have also implemented programs to address stunting by providing support to pregnant women and young children, training women as volunteer health workers, and raising awareness in local communities about the importance of nutrition, health, and hygiene.
Yayasan Usaha Mulia (YUM) has been working diligently to address the issue of stunting, which currently affects 24% of the national population. And women are playing a critical role in YUM’s programs.
In order to help achieve the government’s goal of reducing the prevalence of stunting to 14% by 2024, YUM has implemented a holistic approach to prevention, which includes several key initiatives.
With support from PT. Mitsui Indonesia, part of a global company with a diversified portfolio of trading, investment and business activities across various industries, and KIN, a dairy farm, YUM has been able to mentor 10 new Posyandu, or community health posts, and provide assistance to 100 pregnant women to ensure a healthy pregnancy. These women receive nutritional packages and continued monitoring throughout their pregnancy to help prevent stunting in their babies.
The success of YUM’s efforts in Cipanas, which brought the stunting rate down to just 7% in 2021, is due in large part to the involvement of the community, particularly the women, community leaders and volunteer health workers known as kader. YUM plans to train 50 kader from the 10 Posyandu to effectively prevent stunting in their respective communities.
YUM’s comprehensive approach to stunting prevention includes the distribution of basic food packages and iron supplement tablets, as well as implementing haemoglobin level checks for pregnant mothers. The organization also supports the Posyandu and volunteer health workers to ensure access to key health services for pregnant mothers and children under two. YUM also organizes training for volunteer health workers on the importance of stunting prevention, prenatal and postnatal counselling, sanitation, hygiene, nutrition, and child-rearing advice.
In addition, YUM collaborates with volunteer health workers to conduct communication campaigns on stunting, sanitation, and hygiene to increase local awareness. KIN provides additional support by distributing milk to pregnant mothers to increase their calcium intake and promote the benefits of vitamin D and protein.
With the help of these initiatives that are largely provided by women, YUM hopes to continue making progress in reducing the prevalence of stunting in Indonesia and ensuring that all children can grow and thrive.
YUM would like to take the program to more areas and this project still needs your support so more Indonesian children can lead normal and healthy lives.
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“I was in the first month of the pregnancy of my second child when I joined YUM’s stunting prevention program. The program helped me a lot with the nutrition packages, especially the supplemental milk. I felt a significant difference compared to my first pregnancy, especially the weight of my child—a whole 1kg difference in weight when my second child was born—as well as my health in general throughout the second pregnancy.” – Devi Susanti.
MEET IBU YULIANA – ONE OF THE WOMEN COMMITTED TO COMMUNITY HEALTH
The fight against stunting in Indonesia is an ongoing battle that requires the dedication and hard work of many individuals, particularly women who often play a crucial role in preventing stunting. Ibu Yuliana is one such woman who has been at the forefront of efforts to prevent stunting in Central Kalimantan.
For the past 21 years, Ibu Yuliana has been a volunteer health worker, providing essential care and support to her community. After attending training sessions with YUM, she has recently become a community leader, furthering her impact and influence.
Despite living in Marang, a village located 24 km from Palangkaraya, Ibu Yuliana has created a space next to her house for monthly posyandu gatherings. During times of forest and land fires, the space functions as a relief post, highlighting Ibu Yuliana’s commitment to her community.
Even during the pandemic, Ibu Yuliana has continued her work, going from house to house to provide health services and support to those in need. Her dedication and passion for helping her community are truly inspiring.
Ibu Yuliana is just one example of the many women who are making a difference in the fight against stunting in Indonesia. Their hard work and commitment are crucial in achieving the government’s target of reducing stunting rates to 14% by 2024.