Semarang, Central Java (ANTARA) - Head of the National Population and Family Planning Agency (BKKBN) Hasto Wardoyo has asked all regional governments to replicate the programs implemented by the Central Java government to handle stunting in the province.

"Mr. Pranowo's (Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo’s) Jo Kawin Bocah (Avoid Child Marriage) program is excellent because, on Java Island, the least (cases of) child marriage are in Central Java for large provinces," he highlighted during a regional working meeting here on Monday.

According to Wardoyo, the rates of maternal mortality, infant mortality, and under-five mortality in Central Java are lower than in West Java and East Java.

The pregnancy rate in the 15–19 age group in Central Java is 23 per 1,000 population, or lower than in West Java, where it has been recorded at 24 per 1,000, and in East Java, where it is pegged at 31 per 1,000.

He lauded the seriousness of the Central Java Governor in handling stunting with the help of programs that are also in keeping with efforts to bring down the number of stunting cases and can be used as examples by other regions.

He also lauded the Jateng Gayeng Nginceng Wong Meteng (Central Java Monitors Pregnant Women) program, which has successfully helped reduce the maternal mortality rate in the province.

"The infant mortality rate is also good, 12 per 1,000, and the under-five mortality in Central Java is 14 per 1,000," he noted.

According to the Indonesian Nutritional Status Survey (SSGI), the decline in Central Java's stunting prevalence is not yet significant.

"However, no need to worry because the other indicators are good," he said.

Governor Pranowo emphasized that there should be no half-measures in dealing with stunting, especially since the special allocation funds (DAK) for stunting handling have been handed over to regional governments.

He also said that stunting handling would be integrated with the poverty alleviation program.

Earlier, Wardoyo underscored the need to curb child marriages to reduce stunting prevalence.

The BKKBN head said that child marriage is one of the factors responsible for the high prevalence of stunting in Indonesia.

Child marriages have contributed to the country's increasing maternal and infant mortality rate. Children abandoned by their mothers would be likelier to experience stunting due to the lack of proper care and love, Wardoyo added.

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Translator: Wisnu Adhi, Raka Adji
Editor: Tia Mutiasari
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