If symptoms or signs of danger are found in the form, the mother or toddler must immediately visit a health service facility
Jakarta (ANTARA) - The release of the Maternal and Child Health (KIA) handbook is part of the government's strategies to reduce the mortality rate in children aged under five (toddlers), an official from the Health Ministry has said.

“One of the government's strategies for reducing the under-five mortality rate is the use of the KIA book as a home-based record(-keeping) and educational tool for mothers and families,” director general of public health at the ministry, Maria Endang Sumiwi, said at a webinar, which was followed from Jakarta on Friday.

The KIA handbook this year has an additional sheet for self-monitoring by pregnant women and postpartum mothers, as well as for monitoring newborns and toddlers, she informed. Through the handbook, mothers and families can detect early problems during pregnancy, childbirth, and in toddlers at home.

Related news: Health ministry finds harmful substances in syrup medicines

"If symptoms or signs of danger are found in the form, the mother or toddler must immediately visit a health service facility," Sumiwi said.

The ministry has also developed a digital KIA book or mobile KIA (m-KIA) since 2020 to help mothers and families access records of health services, monitor the growth and development of toddlers, obtain education, and hold direct consultations with pediatricians via smartphones, she informed.

"In order to increase literacy, fathers, grandmothers, and grandfathers must also be involved in this activity. Increasing literacy in the early detection of an illness is needed," she emphasized.

Related news: Govt finds compounds in drugs that could trigger acute kidney failure

She said that the first five years of children are a golden period for their physical, intellectual, mental, and emotional growth. The fulfillment of their physical to biological needs and adequate stimulation at that age can improve children's survival and optimize the quality of children as the nation's next generation.

The five-year period is also a critical period: the negative impact of any form of malnutrition or lack of stimulation during the period would be felt in the future.

"Toddlers who experience impaired growth and development will experience the impact in the future," Sumiwi said.

Indonesia is still facing the problem of high morbidity and mortality rates in children under five, she noted.

Based on the results of the Sampling Registration System in 2018, around 15 out of 100 neonatal deaths occur at home. This shows that families have no understanding of the symptoms of illness in toddlers and do not immediately seek help for sick toddlers.

In addition, the data shows that 62 out of 100 under-five deaths occur in hospitals. This shows that access to referral health services is good, but the toddlers' condition is too severe to allow them to be saved.

Related news: Ministry, BPOM work to remove medicinal syrups from market

Related news: Ministry promotes active lifestyle for preventing osteoporosis

Translator: Rizka Khaerunnisa, Resinta S
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
Copyright © ANTARA 2022