Jakarta (ANTARA) - The National Population and Family Planning Agency (BKKBN) has urged university students to build public awareness on the need for avoiding early marriage and tackling anemia to prevent an increase in stunting cases.

“All students must have the courage to declare a generation free from early marriage and free from anemia. The strategy to accelerate stunting reduction can only run optimally through students in the field," BKKBN’s Deputy for Training, Research, and Development Rizal M. Damanik said in a statement received here on Wednesday.

While sharing the evaluation results of the 2022 Indonesian Demographic and Health Survey (IDHS) at Saint Paulus Catholic University in Ruteng, Manggarai District, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), on December 19, 2022, Damanik invited all students to help spread awareness on the two issues, especially among prospective mothers and people of childbearing age.

This is because the 2021 Indonesian Nutrition Status Study (SSGI) pegged stunting prevalence in NTT at 37.8 percent, which was the highest among all provinces in the country. The national stunting rate is currently 24.4 percent, Damanik noted.

"I am open to all collaborations from all elements regarding this matter. We will follow up on them next year," he said.

Meanwhile, Head of the BKKBN's Center for Population Research and Development (Pusdu) Indra Murty Surbakti informed that the center is responsible for implementing research and development in the population field.

Therefore, it must play an active role in providing inputs for the formulation of institutional policies and the internal ranks of the BKKBN.

The inputs provided to strengthen the implementation of the Family Development, Population, and Family Planning (Bangga Kencana) Program are in the form of accurate, valid, relevant, updated, and accountable data and information, one of which is outlined through the IDHS.

"This survey is not only important for planning and evaluating programs in the fields of population, family planning, and maternal and child health at the national and provincial levels but also for ministries and agencies, especially the BKKBN," he said.

Earlier, Pusdu conducted IDHS. However, following the issuance of Presidential Regulation Number 78 of 2021 concerning the National Research and Innovation Agency, all researchers at BKKBN who handled IDHS were moved to the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN).

Related news: Decline in early marriages on Bangka Belitung Islands: official
Related news: Early marriage causes child disability, osteoporosis in mothers: BKKBN

Translator: Hreeloita Dharma S, Resinta S
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
Copyright © ANTARA 2022