The Health Ministry, the European Union and Unicef extended their partnership to fight malnutrition amid soaring stunting cases among Indonesian children.
“Our mutual concern is that stunting cases in children have reached an alarming rate,” Dr. Robin Nandy, Unicef’s chief of child survival and development in Indonesia, said on Monday.
A study released in May by the non-governmental organization Save the Children, placed Indonesia at number 70 out of 83 countries in terms of children’s welfare.
The study said that 40 percent of Indonesian children suffered from development problems which made them short or stunted.
EU representative Erik Habers said that 20 million euros ($26 million) have been allocated to overcome the malnutrition problem in several countries, including Indonesia. The amount for Indonesia reached 5 million euros, of which 4.1 million euros was donated by the EU.
Habers said that malnutrition is a problem often found in developing countries.
“The main challenge for countries in the development phase is how to distribute progress to the lowest level,” he said.
Habers says Indonesia, although it is experiencing a rapid development in the economic sector, will see people in several areas suffering from malnutrition.
“Malnutrition is a very complex and multidimensional problem. Some areas face food shortages while other areas face clean water shortages,” he said. “Intervention to overcome malnutrition is related to a change of behavior. And as we all know, it needs time and extraordinary efforts to change behavior.”