Ministry of Health Launches Campaign on Stunting

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Photo: Purningsih

Jakarta (Greeners) – Ministry of Health raises the issue of stunting on the 58th National Nutrition Day as bad nutrition still hit regions in Indonesia, said a senior official, on Thursday in Jakarta.

“The prevention concept will be focusing on the first 1,000 days to ensure that all services for pregnant women, babies, and toddlers are in line with efforts to improve nutrition,” said Director General of People’s Health, Anung Sugihantono.

One of health priorities stated in 2015-2019 Mid Term National Development Planning is to improve nutrition, especially stunting issues which has become the indicator of low human resources quality of a country.

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Indonesian Nutritionist Association, Minarto, said between 0-59 months, the risk of stunting reaches 9.8 percent, 19.8 percent falls into short category and normal covers 70.4 percent.

Furthermore, Minarto said that 30 percent of those stunted children came from middle-upper class society. The cause of stunting, he said, was due to lack of knowledge to choose, to cook, and serve meals.

“The numbers are quite high. We didn’t expect because they have money, sufficient ingredients but how to choose, to cook, and provide food to children are not proper so that the number reaches to 30 percent,” said Minarto.

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Good nutrition must not be overlooked on babies and pregnant women. Iron is needed for pregnant women to prevent anemia and maintain optimal fetal growth.

Based on 2013 Basic Health Research, as much as 89.1 percent of pregnant women consume iron and its variation. From that number, only 33.3 percent of pregnant women consume iron during 90 days of the pregnancy, at minimum.

The 2016 Nutrition State Monitoring recorded that not all 0-5 months babies receive exclusive breast milk, only 54 percent of them.

“The most determining intervention is to prepare future Moms, give maximum service to pregnant women and ensure labor conducted on health facilities. Exclusive breast milk is started with early breastfeeding initiation and growth monitoring, simultaneously, by medical workers for the first 1,000 days,” he said.

To prevent stunting, Seala Septiani, a nutritionist from University of Indonesia, said that pregnant women must be cautious on their diet. Consuming food with balance nutrition will result to healthy baby.

“I will strongly underline to consume calcium for bone growth for baby in the womb. So, bad nutrition is best to start from the fetus,” she added.

Reports by Dewi Purningsih