overnment officials, health workers and volunteers, and community leaders in Ogan Komering Ilir (OKI), one of Indonesia’s 440 districts, commemorated this year’s national nutrition by declaring a commitment to prevent stunting on January 27th.

“Preventing stunting is our common concern; therefore, it should be the business of all relevant sectors so that the next generation becomes a better generation. The stunting figure in OKI is 40.5%, above the national figure of 37%, and South Sumatra’s figure is 36%,” said Iskandar, OKI’s District Head.

DayofNutritionDr. Minarto, Program Director for Community-Based Health and Nutrition (CBHN) to Reduce Stunting of Millennium Challenge Account-Indonesia (MCA-Indonesia), explained that stunting is when a child’s height is below standard according to his or her age. According to him, stunting reduces cognitive and physical capacity. Hence, in their adulthood, stunted children tend to have low education, low income, and are more susceptible to a variety of non-communicable diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. Dr. Minarto explained that improving child’s health and nutrition during the first 1000 days of life, starting from pregnancy until the child is 2 years old, can prevent stunting. This period is a critical period of child’s growth and development.

“According to a study, economic losses due to stunting reaches 3% of gross domestic product, or around IDR 300 trillion per year for Indonesia,” said Entos Zainal, sub-directorate of nutrition and health, National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas). ” He explained that stunting prevention is one of Indonesia’s national development priorities, which will not be achieved if various relevant sectors do not get involved, including community, religious leaders, and the private sector. “Stunting reduction is determined by non-health sectors, such as agriculture, food security, community development, social and cultural conditions, and so forth,” he said.

Muhammad Lubis, head of OKI health office, said, “This joint declaration will be followed up by nutrition campaign implementation in OKI. The plan for the campaign has been formulated in a cross-sector forum in December 2015, in which the roles of relevant sectors to in the campaign were agreed upon. This is a tremendous support for this program. “

The National Nutrition Campaign, executed by IMA World Health, is part of CBHN. CBHN is implemented by Indonesia’s Ministry of Health with technical support from MCA-Indonesia, and funded by the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) COMPACT.