Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesia's Government is promoting the Healthy Pregnant Women Movement on December 14-22, 2022, to prevent stunting, a chronic malnutrition disrupting children's growth and causing their bodies to grow shorter than the average child their age.

The Health Ministry, in a statement received here, Wednesday, noted that the movement includes a campaign for pregnant women's check-ups at least six times during pregnancy and pregnant women's class that includes eating together, taking blood-added tablets, family and spouse support, as well as appreciation and support for healthy pregnant women.

As many as 10 thousand community health centers (puskesmas) and other health care facilities as well as one thousand public places, including places where pregnant women work, are expected to conduct the Healthy Pregnant Women Movement campaign simultaneously.

This movement is expected to later become a community movement to support prospective mothers starting from their pregnancy to avoid anemia and babies born with stunting.

The ministry's director general of public health, Maria Endang Sumiwi, explained that fulfilling the nutritional needs of mothers since teenage years could affect the condition of their babies in future.

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After birth, the baby's nutritional needs should also be ensured to be fulfilled to avoid stunting, considering that the risk of stunting increases 1.8 times at the age of six to 23 months due to a lack of intake of animal protein and improper parenting patterns, Sumiwi pointed out.

In order to prevent babies from experiencing stunting, the government provides specific interventions before and after the baby's birth. The effort to tackle stunting before the baby's birth is also included in the Health Pregnant Women Movement.

"We are currently focusing on before birth, so that early life can start well for our child," she affirmed.

According to Sumiwi, specific interventions before birth include the administering of blood-added tablets for pregnant women, fulfilling their nutritional needs, and providing nutritional supplements to pregnant women, who are malnourished.

She noted that the Healthy Pregnant Women Movement is aimed at reducing the number of pregnant women suffering from anemia and chronic energy deficiency as well as pregnant women, with a risk of complications during childbirth that can lead to death.

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According to results of the 2018 Basic Health Research, as many as 48.9 percent of pregnant women experienced anemia, 17.3 percent of pregnant women experienced chronic energy deficiency, and 28 percent of pregnant women had a risk of complications during childbirth that can cause death.

Apart from conducting specific interventions before birth, the government implements specific interventions to prevent stunting after birth that includes fulfilling the nutritional needs and health services for the baby, she remarked.

"We really want to maintain the first one thousand days of birth. We will make sure that from the beginning of life, all growth factors are fulfilled," she affirmed.

With the implementation of various intervention programs, the number of cases of stunting in Indonesia is targeted to decline, from 24.4 percent in 2021 to 14 percent in 2024, or decrease by 3.5 percent every year.

The government has mapped out 12 priority provinces to reduce stunting: Aceh, East Nusa Tenggara, West Sulawesi, West Nusa Tenggara, West Kalimantan, South Kalimantan, Southeast Sulawesi, West Java, Central Java, East Java, Banten, and North Sumatra.

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Translator: Andi Firdaus, Resinta S
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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