The characteristics of the Indonesian people provide an opportunity for religious-based education, which we must utilize…
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Vice President Ma'ruf Amin on Thursday asked Muslim clerics and preachers to deliver sermons on stunting and efforts to prevent it as more residents would heed instructions delivered by religious figures.

"Roles of Muslim clerics and preachers are vital because they will be present among the community. Sermons and religious assemblies are an effective medium to spread messages to the community, including stunting issues and efforts to prevent it," he said at the Vice Presidential Palace here on Thursday.

Indonesia was the 7th most religious country among 164 indexed countries in a survey conducted in 2021, and thus, religious figures must take part in disseminating information on secular issues, such as stunting growth issues, as more residents will trust them, he expounded.

"The characteristics of the Indonesian people provide an opportunity for religious-based education, which we must utilize, particularly as some 87 percent of the Indonesian population are Muslims," he said.

Amin, who also serves as the chair of the steering committee of the National Stunting Reduction Acceleration Team, said that according to the Indonesia Nutrient Status Study report in 2021, one out of every four infants in Indonesia is suffering from stunting.

"Stunted growth could bring more harm to children because it impedes brain growth, which could reduce their productivity once they grow to adulthood. Stunting is not merely a health issue, but is a humanity issue which could hinder the economy and national development in the future," the Vice President noted.

Related news: Families playing strategic role in preventing stunting: ministry

Indonesia's stunting prevalence was recorded at 24.4 percent in 2021, and the government has taken aggressive measures to achieve the 14-percent stunting prevalence target by 2024, he said.

"We must work promptly, prudently, and most important, collaborate with all parties, including religious figures and preachers," Amin added.

By disseminating information about stunting issues and ways to prevent it, Muslim preachers can contribute to efforts to encourage good and forbid wrong—a religious duty for Muslims, he said.

Meanwhile, Religious Affairs Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas said that preventing stunting through religious sermons is also an effort to implement religious commandments.

"The religion instructs us not to create a weak future generation, and we must develop the best generation. Disseminating narratives about stunting issues is not easy for religious figures as they must first understand the issue," Qoumas remarked.

Related news: BKKBN asks Purwakarta residents to join stunting reduction efforts

Translator: Desca Lidya N, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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