The National Report on Basic Health Research (RISKESDAS) 2013 estimates that almost 9 million children in Indonesia or a third of all under-five children are stunted. The Government of Indonesia is committed to reducing the prevalence of stunting through cross-ministerial, national and subnational anti-stunting programs.
Indonesia’s National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) hosted a two-day Stunting Bootcamp on March 26-27, bringing together 26 district and city governments to reduce rates of stunting to 28 percent by 2019. In an all-out effort to combat stunting, 19 government ministries and institutions came together for the event, as did UNICEF, MCA-I, DFAT and the World Bank. The Stunting Bootcamp is the second of eight planned events to bring the anti-stunting movement to 1,000 villages in 100 districts and cities in 34 provinces. The government plans to expand the coverage to 1,600 villages in 160 districts in 2019.
Through the Bootcamp, the national government aimed to build local governments’ capacity and commitment to plan, implement, monitor and evaluate convergence interventions to reduce stunting. Such interventions would include advocacy campaigns to raise awareness about the importance of reducing stunting and improve interpersonal communication to enhance collaboration across stakeholder groups.
Pungkas Bahjuri Ali, Director of Health and Nutrition at Bappenas, said that local governments were expected to share the national government’s commitment to reduce stunting, and to demonstrate their commitment by planning for and funding anti-stunting programs.
“We will share best practices from global, national, and village experiences, strengthen the coordination between the national and local governments, and improve the effectiveness of the program,” he said in his opening remarks at the Borobudur Hotel in Central Jakarta. He emphasized that adequate nutrition, disease prevention and good parenting were at the core of the movement to reduce stunting. “The role of the ministries and government institutions is focused on those three,” he said.
Subandi Sarjoko, Deputy Minister of Bappenas who also serves as the Head of Human, Community, and Cultural Development, revealed that government mapping initiatives found 19 districts and cities that have launched anti-stunting interventions without success in reducing stunting rates. “It was found that each area does not receive all aspects of the integrated intervention. For example, Village A, provides good nutrition but doesn’t have adequate clean water supply. Village B is the other way around. In fact, all aspects of the integrated intervention should be received by the target communities,” he said.
Villages Minister Eko Putro Sandjojo urged villages to reduce stunting rates by using Village Funds to finance infrastructure such as water and sanitation facilities, health clinics, and early education centers to improve villagers’ quality of life. “We must educate people about stunting. Even wealthy districts have stunting cases due to a lack of knowledge and widespread myths on nutrition,” he said during the Bootcamp. “Only 5 districts across Indonesia are free from open defecation. It affects the stunting rate as it’s not only about nutrition. Villages should build clean water facilities using Village Funds - it’s not expensive.”
The stunting reduction movement has the backing of Indonesia’s highest executive office. President Joko Widodo is committed to reducing stunting as evidenced by the Presidential Instruction No. 1/2017 on Healthy Community Movement (Germas); and Presidential Regulation No. 83/2017 on Strategic Policy on Food and Nutrition. The National Coordination Meeting 2018 for Generasi Sehat Cerdas, the National Village Congress and the Stunting Summit, all held in the week of March 25, further reflect the President’s commitment to accelerate the efforts to reduce stunting.
“Stunting reduction will be included in the government’s work plan every year, in line with the commitment to meet the SDGs by 2030,” Subandi said. “In 2018, the government’s priority is to improve education on nutrition, conduct nutritional surveillance, and provide nutritional food. 12 ministries and institutions directly contribute to interventions against stunting, and these efforts must be synergized.”