Many people in Indonesia do not get enough to eat, significant numbers of the country’s children are underweight and infant mortality continues to be a problem right across the island nation’s archipelago.
Those are the findings of a new study jointly conducted by WFP and Badan Pusat Statistik-Statistics Indonesia and funded in large part by the Australian government.
The study - Nutrition Map of Indonesia - breaks new ground by employing recently developed analytical techniques to measure for the first time Indonesia’s nutritional status all the way down to the sub-district level. It surveyed conditions in 3,688 sub-districts, covering 30 provinces and 341 districts and cities. Among its findings:
- People in roughly half of the sub-districts measured are consuming less than 1,700 kilocalories a day, well below the 2,100 kcal international standard considered necessary to provide the minimum energy required to adequately sustain an average adult.
- More than 30 per cent of pre-school children are underweight in 772 sub-districts, particularly in North, West and South Sumatra, Jambi, East Java, Nusa Tenggara Barat (NTB), Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT) and West Kalimantan.
- Infant mortality rates of 55 per 1,000 live births, significantly above the national average of 43 per 1,000, are prevalent in 1,079 sub-districts stretching across the country, including Jambi, Bengkulu, West Sumatra, Banten, West and Central Java, NTB, NTT, West and South Kalimantan and Central, South and Southeast Sulawesi.
“The publication of this Nutrition Map of Indonesia is another important step in identifying the hotspots where hunger and malnutrition remain the most devastating problem,” said Aburizal Bakrie, Co-ordinating Minister for People’s Welfare, as he helped to unveil the new study at a launching ceremony today in Jakarta.
At the same ceremony, Dr. Rusman Heriawan, Director General of BPS-Statistics Indonesia, explained that the study “focuses on the immediate concern of mapping the problems of malnutrition down to the lowest administrative level”, which will help the authorities to “allocate available resources in a more efficient manner when designing anti-poverty and anti-malnutrition programmes.”
Noting the report found “serious nutritional problems” in more than one-third of the sub-districts surveyed, Mohamed Saleheen, WFP Country Director for Indonesia, described the Nutrition Map as a “valuable tool” in “highlighting those areas of the country that should be prioritized in any nutritional interventions.” He added: “There is an urgent need for agencies supporting nutrition programmes to join hands and provide packaged assistance for maximum impact, especially to improve the health of women and children.”
All three officials pointed out that reducing hunger and malnutrition were essential if Indonesia is to achieve any of the eight UN Millennium Development Goals, especially the twin aims of reducing child mortality and halving poverty and hunger in 2015.
The Nutrition Map is the first application in Indonesia of the Small Area Estimation technique to measure nutritional parameters, a recently developed methodology that attempts to combine the advantages of detailed information on household characteristics obtained from household surveys with the complete coverage of a population census.
It is particularly valuable in Indonesia, where assembling a representative sample would be prohibitively expensive in a country with 33 provinces, 349 districts, 91 municipalities, 5,570 sub-districts and 71,634 villages.
In addition to isolating nutrition problems in Indonesia’s sub-districts, the publication also attempts to establish models showing the relationship between the nutritional and socio- economic status of the population.
The Nutrition Map complements the Food Insecurity Atlas of Indonesia, another joint endeavour of the Government of Indonesia and WFP. Published in August, 2005, the Atlas measures food insecurity at the district level in Indonesia, pinpointing 100 priority hotspots across the country that require the urgent attention of the authorities.