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Maternal and Child Nutrition in Indonesia

According to UNICEF, Indonesia has the fifth highest number of  stunted children in the world— more than 7.6 million children. The number of wasted children is 2.8 million, and 3.8 million more are underweight. Concurrently, there is a growing percentage of children who are overweight (12.2% nationally- Department of Health, Government of Indonesia). Micronutrient deficiencies like anemia are alarmingly high, especially among the poorest. The immediate causes of maternal and child undernutrition are poor dietary intake and frequent illness.

Underlying the issue of poor intake are declining rates of breastfeeding; poor complementary feeding practices, including overreliance on cereals and lack of consumption of micronutrients; growing dependence on street foods and unhealthy processed foods; and lack of fortified and healthy food options. Frequent bouts of diarrhea and respiratory infections are caused by poor hygiene, water, and sanitation practices. Mothers are anemic and underweight before becoming pregnant, and these unresolved deficiencies contribute to the suboptimal development of babies in utero.

Further, the population of West Timor, Indonesia has experienced a fluctuating nutritional crisis since the early 1990’s, as a result of economic and political crisis and repeated natural disasters. These factors have had a heavy impact on acute and chronic food-insecurity, leading to deteriorating nutritional and health status of its population, particularly among women and children under the age of five.

How Window of Opportunity is helping:

In light of this, CARE has focused on scaling up appropriate infant and young child feeding and related maternal nutrition practices in West Timor since 2008. The Window of Opportunity in Indonesia, known as Prima Bina, is improving the health of families in 23 villages in the districts of Belu and Timor Tengah Utara (TTU).


                                  Nutritional Status for Children in West Timor, Indonesia

Indonesia National Health Survey, RISKEDAS, 2007                                       Windowbaseline*, 2009

                                        <5 years                                                                                      <2 years

                              Underweight 33.6 %                                                               Underweight 50.7 %

                                   Stunting 46.8 %                                                                        Stunting 34.5 %

                                     Wasting 20 %                                                                            Wasting 9.8 %

                                     * Collected using WHO indicators

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