Jakarta (ANTARA) - Stunting reduction, which is one of the government's priority programs, is not just about achieving number targets, but also maintaining the quality of maternal and child health, the National Population and Family Planning Board (BKKBN) said.

"This is not merely about the figure, but on how to maintain the health of mothers and children so there would be a great generation for greater Indonesia," Deputy of Advocacy, Initiative, and Information at BKKBN Sukaryo Teguh Santoso said at "FMB9: Crucial Measures to Reduce Stunting" discussion, which was followed online from here on Monday.

According to data received by BKKBN from the Religious Affairs Ministry, each year, at least 2 million couples of childbearing age get married in Indonesia, he informed.

Eighty percent of them are known to get pregnant in the first year of marriage, he pointed out.

During that period, each family needs assistance to ensure a healthy pregnancy until it is time to give birth, he said.

The provision of assistance is very important to make sure that pregnant women do not lack the necessary nutrition and suffer from chronic energy deficiency, which could impact fetal development, Santoso explained.

"Hence, having data on who will be assisted, including the prospective bride/groom as mentioned before, it will help us predict (the number of babies with stunted growth who must be assisted)," he added.

He further said that according to the board's cumulative data, 13.2 million families are recorded at risk of stunting.

Santoso drew attention to the issues faced by those families, for instance, they have either very young women getting pregnant, very old women getting pregnant, or women getting pregnant too often.

Such issues could endanger the mothers in question and could increase the risk of babies being born with stunted development, he cautioned.

He also cited data from the Health Ministry, which pegs the maternal mortality rate in Indonesia at 305 deaths per 100,000 births, higher than the government's target in 2024 of 183 deaths per 100,000 births.

One of the measures, which has become important nowadays, is educating people about the importance of using contraceptives after the mothers give birth, he informed.

Moreover, the board is consistently updating data on names and addresses of those at risk of stunted growth so that interventions can be made effectively and efficiently, he said.

The data in question also includes families at risk of stunting who live in inhabitable places with bad access to sanitation and clean water as well as their economic condition, Santoso added.

"We have mapped the childbearing couples who do not use family planning, on top of that also families with toddlers below 2 years old and below 5 years old," he informed.

He said that those kinds of families are the ones who are being targeted for the intervention measures to ensure that the stunting rate can be brought down.

Related news: East Nusa Tenggara can be model for stunting alleviation: MPR
Related news: Stunting handled through cross-sectoral efforts: minister
Related news: Village Fund utilization for Posyandu to prevent stunting: Minister

Translator: Hreeloita Dharma S, Mecca Yumna
Editor: Sri Haryati
Copyright © ANTARA 2023