Under-nutrition is a serious issue in Eastern Indonesia. In NTT’s Kupang district – an area where WFP’s programme is operational – more than a third of children are underweight. However, daily consumption of fortified biscuits can help reverse this trend through the introduction of vital missing nutrients. WFP’s intervention covers seven Kupang sub-districts, benefiting over 16,000 children under five and more than 3,000 mothers.
Kuannoah is one of almost three hundred Community Health Centres in Kupang that receive rations of fortified biscuits from WFP. Pregnant and breast-feeding mothers and children under five are invited every month for a health check-up.
Before the start of WFP’s Mother and Child Nutrition programme in NTT in 2005, attendance ratea at health centres in the region was low, despite various efforts to persuade young mothers and their children of the importance of a regular health check. However, since the start of WFP’s programme and the distribution of fortified biscuits, attendance rates have doubled.
“My children eat WFP biscuits daily for four years and have no problem of weight,” said Moy, one of the mothers attending the Nuannoah health centre. Like other mothers coming for a check-up, she receives 30 sachets of biscuits per child to take home with her to ensure the nutrition boost for her children continues even while not at the centre.
The provision of biscuits is part of a broader effort not only to improve attendance rates at the health centres, but also to help mothers understand the importance of proper nutrition both for themselves and their children.