JAKARTA, September 19, 2018 – Indonesia is committed to give its future generations the best start in life, and with its robust growth and declining poverty the nation is on track to do so. However, with high rates of child stunting, this outcome will require a breakthrough in its long battle against malnutrition. The book, ‘Aiming High: Indonesia’s Ambition to Reduce Stunting’, launched today takes a close look at what is needed to successfully accelerate stunting prevention.
The book examines stunting in Indonesia, which based on 2013 data is affecting more than one third of all children under five years of age. It draws lessons from Indonesia’s earlier anti-stunting programs and from other countries such as Peru and Thailand in order to improve the response to the situation and chart a successful way forward.
“We have the resources. We have the programs in all key sectors. What we need now is to improve the quality and convergence of service delivery at the local level”, said Bambang Widianto, Executive Secretary of the National Team for the Acceleration of Poverty Alleviation (TNP2K).
The Government’s commitment to stunting acceleration is evidenced by the US$14.6 billion National Strategy to Accelerate Stunting Prevention, launched in August 2017, that aims to benefit 48 million pregnant mothers and children under 2 years old in the next four years. This evidence-based and cost-effective investment will seek to improve Indonesians’ access to a package of quality key services, from health and nutrition to education and sanitation, implemented through close coordination among all stakeholders from the central government to local communities. In Indonesia, it is estimated that every US dollar well spent on reducing stunting will generate US$48 in economic return.
“Our analysis indicates that more than two million Indonesian children under two years of age can be saved from stunting in the next three to four years if this National Strategy is implemented effectively,” said Rodrigo A. Chaves, World Bank Country Director for Indonesia and Timor-Leste. “We are delighted that Indonesia is taking action to eradicate stunting to give millions of children equal opportunity to be educated, compete in the labor market, and share in the country’s prosperity. The World Bank is privileged to partner with Indonesia in this endeavor.”
Among the book’s recommendations to effectively tackle stunting is the importance of a ‘convergence approach’, a multi-sectoral coordinated effort to target priority areas and beneficiaries. Credible data information, monitoring and evaluation systems, as well as clear and achievable targets is also critical. There is also the need to revamp the integrated community health posts, the Posyandu, which have waned recently due to shortages of funds and staff. It also stresses the use of Human Development Workers to address current inequitable access to services.
This book launch is part of Voyage to Indonesia, a series of events leading up to the 2018 IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings which will be held next month in Bali. Financial support for this publication was provided by the Government of Japan through the Japan Trust Fund for Scaling Up Nutrition and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.