Palembang, South Sumatra (ANTARA) - National Family Day in Indonesia is celebrated on June 29 as a reminder of the family’s important role in building community welfare.

This year’s commemorative event, themed “Free-Stunting Family for Advanced Indonesia,” was celebrated at Pangkalan Balai, Banyuasin District, South Sumatra, on July 6 and was attended by Vice President Ma’ruf Amin.

During the celebration, the vice president also awarded South Sumatra Governor Herman Deru and Banyuasin District Head, Askolani, as foster fathers for stunting children.

Vice President Amin stated that the family is the smallest unit of society that determines the greatness of a nation, or meaning that family is a nation in miniature in Arabic.

As a miniature, or the smallest unit of society, a quality family will create a quality society as well.

Families can contribute to creating a healthy generation and a great society in the country.

According to Amin, the future of society and the nation depends on the family. Hence, Indonesian families are expected to become great kin in order to bring prosperity to the country.

To this end, Indonesian families should continue to strengthen their role in creating the next generation of young people, who are free from stunting, both physically, mentally, and in life.

Moreover, great youths come from children raised and educated by strong families.

In order to strengthen the capability of families, the government continues to educate the public to prevent early marriage.

Early marriage is considered to bring potential dangers, ranging from stunting to maternal death, and to the creation of new poor families.

Efforts to prevent early marriage are also made through a religious approach to the community.

Despite religion not prohibiting early marriage, it disallows anything harmful. Hence, religion teaches its people to do useful things in their life.

Through religious teaching, people are advised to avoid things, with harmful potential in the future, including getting married at an early age, thereby resulting in couples not having gained physical and psychological maturity.

Underage marriage is considered non-beneficial, and the community should avoid this practice.

TNI-BKKBN cooperation

Efforts to overcome stunting are also made by the government through cooperation of various parties.

For instance, the Indonesian National Army (TNI AD) cooperated with the National Population and Family Planning Agency (BKKBN) to handle stunting problems.

This collaboration regulates various activities organized by the TNI AD along with the BKKBN in advocacy, information, communication, and education (IEC) related to stunting.

The collaboration also includes expanding access and improving the quality of family planning services and reproductive health in the stunting reduction acceleration program.

Under the cooperation, efforts will also be made to empower TNI officers and the community in the economic, social, and cultural sectors to build family resilience and increase the competency of human resources in accelerating the reduction of stunting.

Head of BKKBN Hasto Wardoyo stated that stunting prevention must start from the upstream, namely during teenage years and the pre-marital phase.

Preparing a bride and groom, who are healthy and ready to live a household life, will result in healthy pregnant women, both physically and mentally. Thus, they can give birth to a stunting-free generation.

Based on this collaboration, Sriwijaya Military Command II soldiers are ready to reach residential areas in five provinces in the South Sumatra region -- South Sumatra, Jambi, Bengkulu, Lampung, and Bangka Belitung -- to implement the stunting eradication program for children.

The highest reduction in stunting cases

South Sumatra Province, with 17 districts and cities, has recorded the highest decline in stunting prevalence rate nationally.

Based on BKKBN’s data in June 2023, the stunting prevalence rate for South Sumatra was 18.6 percent, down 6.2 percent as compared to 24.8 percent in the previous year.

The stunting prevalence rate was obtained on the basis of results of the Indonesian Nutrition Status Survey (SSGI) in 17 districts and cities in the local province.

The decline of 6.2 percent was considered to be drastic, as the BKKBN conveyed that this figure was the highest among other provinces in 2023.

This achievement was the result of maximum efforts made jointly by the provincial, district, and city governments along with other relevant agencies, including the private sector.

Efforts made since 2021 in South Sumatra included the intensified family movement to consume at least two eggs, pre-marital checkups, early maternal and child health checks, immunization at the integrated health post (posyandu), and the South Sumatra Independent Food Movement (GSMP).

The implementation of these activities was also monitored optimally by forming foster fathers and older siblings for healthy families in every village in each district and city.

Due to the success in accelerating the reduction of the stunting rate, South Sumatra is entrusted with hosting the commemoration of National Family Day.

Governor Deru stated that the percentage of stunting in South Sumatra had continued to decline from year to year, from 24.8 percent to 18 percent.

To reduce the number of stunting cases in South Sumatra, which is currently at 18 percent, to 14 percent according to the national target in 2024, he will support the stunting prevention and control program by optimizing the multi-sector role.

He noted that stunting should be handled in a comprehensive and integrated manner as well as optimize the role of multi sectors.

Accelerating the reduction in stunting is one of the government's priority programs since it has a long-term impact on the community.

Hence, National Family Day is expected to motivate several sectors to carry out efforts in stunting eradication.

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Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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