Saturday, 22 September 2012

MALNUTRITION: Indonesia makes progress in combating malnutrition

The Jakarta Post | National | Thu, August 16 2012, 9:15 AM

Indonesia is one of the top 15 countries in the world in terms of progress in dealing with child malnutrition, a report says.

The 13th “Annual Report on the State of the World’s Mothers” compiled by Save the Children said that between 1990 and 2010, Indonesia made great strides to combat child malnutrition by delivering essential services for children.

Save the Children’s country director for Indonesia Ricardo Caivano said that Indonesia had adopted six key nutrition solutions, including promotion of breast-feeding; complimentary feeding; vitamin A, iron and zinc supplements, as well as improving hygiene, which the NGO considers has the greatest potential to safe lives.

“Indonesia has already implemented these solutions, and the result is encouraging. Indonesia now ranks in the top 15 countries making the fastest progress against the child malnutrition,” he said.

This year’s report focuses on nutrition during the first 1,000 days of life, which holds the key to the child’s survival and future development. The report also identifies which countries have been falling behind in the delivery of quality nutrition.

According to the report, more than 3.5 million children die of malnutrition every year. “Even when they survive, malnourished children are less able to fight disease. They’re less likely to perform well in the school and eventually less likely to reach their full potential,” said Caivano.

Data from the NGO said that more than 170 million children in the world do not receive adequate nutrition during this critical period.

Starting in 2000, Save the Children has been publishing annual report on comparative measures of the status of children’s health, economy, education, politics and prosperity. It involves countries with a minimum population size of 250,000 people, in three categories, more developed, less developed and least developed countries.

Data from the Health Ministry show that the prevalence of malnourishment in Indonesia stands at 17.9 percent in 2010. To meet MDG targets, the government must bring the figure down to 15.5 percent by 2015.

“One of the nutrition-related health problems we are dealing with is stunting. This includes a high prevalence of obesity in children,” said Health Minister Nafsiah Mboi.

In only three years between 2007 and 2010, the prevalence of obesity in children has increased to 14.3 percent from 12.2 percent, she said.

— JP/Elly Burhaini Faizal

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