Surabaya, East Java (ANTARA) - East Java province's stunting rate declined sharply to 19.2 percent in 2022, according to the National Population and Family Planning Agency (BKKBN).

"In 2021, the stunting rate in East Java was capped at 23.5 percent, and in 2022, it saw a very significant decrease, (the rate) declined by 4.3 percent, down to 19.2 percent," BKKBN head Hasto Wardoyo said at the “Education for 1,000 Midwives and Stunting Intervention” event in Surabaya on Saturday.

Such a decline in stunting rate is a great feat given East Java's large population, he added.

“The WHO (World Health Organization) stated that the maximum rate of stunting is 20 percent. As a province with large stunting rate, but they can suppress it to way below 20 percent. This is a good development, " he said.

In East Java, the number of pregnant women is recorded at more than 500 thousand per year. However, the figure is still below that of West Java province, where the figure reaches 850 thousand per year.

According to Wardoyo, when talking about stunting, it is essential to explore the health of the reproductive organs as well as some health indicators, which need to be met before pregnancy.

This is where midwives play a crucial role in reducing stunting, he said.

"Because of midwives' role in facilitating and counseling pregnant women, the stunting rate in East Java could drop below 20 percent currently," he added.

East Java Governor Khofifah Indar Parawansa said that the province still needs to reduce the stunting rate to 14 percent by 2024—a target set by President Joko Widodo.

The governor emphasized the effectiveness of the midwives' contribution in reducing the stunting rate in order to achieve the target set by President Widodo.“The East Java provincial government often compels pregnant women and children to get counseling and nutrition assistance. We also always highlight the importance of balanced nutrition for children. This 14 percent figure is not a mere target, but determines the nation's future,” he said.

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Translator: Willi Irawan, Mecca Yumna
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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