Jakarta (ANTARA) - The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) is collaborating with the National Population and Family Planning Agency (BKKBN) to strengthen the monitoring of stunting handling.

"We hope to make a small contribution in stunting eradication," UNICEF Indonesia country representative Maniza Zaman noted in an official statement released by BKKBN in Jakarta, Wednesday.

During UNICEF's visit to BKKBN in Jakarta on March 3, Zaman noted that her side had conducted field monitoring for stunting eradication through visits to several BKKBN representative offices in various provinces, such as East Java, Aceh, and Papua, to check the condition and take note of comments from various stakeholders regarding acceleration in stunting reduction.

On the other hand, UNICEF has also collaborated with the Directorate of Family Development for Toddlers and Children of the BKKBN during the 2021-2025 period regarding the early childhood education (PAUD) program and positive parenting.

"UNICEF hopes that Indonesia can showcase its efforts to tackle stunting to the world because currently, Indonesia has been recognized globally to have made some progress in stunting eradication," she remarked.

BKKBN Head Hasto Wardoyo remarked that efforts to accelerate the reduction of stunting aligned with President Joko Widodo's directions through Presidential Regulation Number 72 of 2021 concerning the Acceleration of Stunting Reduction that has five strategic pillars.

However, the government faces challenges to change the behavior of families and households in rural and border areas since it is related to different cultural characteristics, he remarked.

"I think we need support from UNICEF to change the people's behavior but still according to Indonesian local wisdom," he stated.

Apart from working with UNICEF and partners, Wardoyo stated that the monitoring of stunting in the field was mapped through the 2021 Family Data Collection to find information on families at risk of stunting, livable housing, clean water sanitation, and other intervention indicators.

The data will be used to conduct a stunting case audit program as well as be used by various ministries and institutions in handling stunting cases. Other data is also collected through the Electronic Ready for Marriage and Ready for Pregnancy (Elsimil) application that is useful in preventing stunting cases in prospective brides, he remarked.

"Currently, Indonesia has 1.9 to two million newly married couples in a year, with 1.6 million pregnancies in the first year. There are cases of stunting in 21.6 percent of the 1.6 million ," he explained.

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Translator: Hreeloita Dharma S, Resinta S
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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