Praya, NTB (ANTARA) - Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform Minister Abdullah Azwar Anas has asked district and city governments across West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) province to increase the budget of programs for improving the nutrition of pregnant women.

"We want to create a professional and world-class bureaucracy, thus the babies who are still in the womb will become our focus to improve our human resources," he said while inaugurating the Central Lombok district’s Public Service Mall here on Wednesday.

Toddlers under the age of two are very vulnerable to stunting, thus the nutrition of pregnant women must be improved, he added.

"The stunting rate (in Indonesia) must be reduced according to President Jokowi's (Joko Widodo’s) target (to 14 percent) by 2024," the minister noted.

He emphasized that it is expected that Indonesia will have better human resources if Indonesian children grow well.

Thus, it is important to collect data on pregnant women and newly born babies to enable the implementation of stunting reduction programs, he added.

“Meanwhile, the social care (program) in Central Lombok district has been quite good,” he observed.

Head of the Central Lombok district, Lalu Pathul Bahri, said that currently, the prevalence of stunting in the district has declined to 19 percent from 20 percent in 2022.

Earlier, stunting prevalence in the region had reached 30.05 percent in 2018.

"(The number of children suffering from) stunting cases in Central Lombok district have decreased to 18,680 toddlers (now)," the district head noted.

To reduce the number of stunting cases, his party has carried out various programs by involving all regional offices and village governments.

"The implemented programs are providing additional nutritional food and carrying out simultaneous measurement (of children by) involving the Education Office," Bahri added.

The government launched the “National Integrated Monthly Weighing Initiative” on Tuesday (February 28, 2023) to reduce stunting prevalence, address toddlers' growth issues due to prolonged lack of nutrition, and treat repeated infections.

According to the National Nutrition Survey Status, the national stunting rate dropped to 21.6 percent in 2022 from 24.4 percent in 2021.

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Translator: Akhyar Rosidi, Uyu Liman
Editor: Anton Santoso
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