Jakarta, 28 January 2016 – Indonesia is facing complicated nutrition problems. The 2013 Basic Health Research data shows that the number of infants weighing less prevalence is at 19.6%. While on the other hand, the number of obese children remains high, at 18.8%. This obesity problem also happens to the teenagers and the adults. PATTIRO argues that the village government as the government level closest to the community has big responsibility and to actively participate in addressing the country’s nutrition problems.
“With the existence of Village Law, village through its government and social institution is now has the ability and authority to directly involve in handling malnutrition cases occurs in their working area. It means the village government does not need to wait for the district or provincial government intervention,” said PATTIRO Executive Director Sad Dian Utomo. In addition, Sad Dian explained, with the larger amount of fund compared to the 2015 budget allocation, approximately Rp600 million per village, village government should be able to give significant contribution in alleviating malnutrition problems.
Unfortunately, claimed Sad Dian, all this time, there is not much money budgeted by the village government for handling or preventing malnutrition cases. “Villages nowadays still put their attention more on developing the infrastructure. The order from the central government to use the 2016 village fund only for infrastructure makes the situation worse whereas, in fact, there are still many cases of poor nutrition,” he added.
Sad Dian suggested, village government should also allocate the budget for handling and preventing malnutrition cases and deliberate this decision in village discussion. Sad Dian explained that the fund allocated can be used to increase the integrated health post (posyandu) budget the district government has provided. “Then, the village government can use this budget to give more breast milk (ASI) supplementary food aid to the toddlers,” he explained.
Likewise, the village government can utilize the budget to improve the posyanu cadres’ public speaking skill. This is important so they can conduct health promotion. “Moreover, the budget can also be used to train posyandu cadres to process local highly nutritious food for the toddlers. Accordingly, the cadres can help the citizen in their village,” Sad said.
Aside from the importance of village government’s commitment to allocate the budget for reducing malnutrition cases, Sad Dian stated that the village government should also invite their people to discuss the health problems their village facing such as poor nutrition in village discussion forum. “All this time citizens utilize the village forum to discuss about their problems and physical needs such as infrastructure. This habit has to be changed so the village people can be more aware and understand about their village health situation. The village people should know and understand the health problem because it is not only the government’s problem, it also theirs,” Sad asserted.
Furthermore, the village government should have the courage to ask the health department and the community health center (puskesmas) to get involved in addressing the malnutrition problems in the village. “Village government should be bold and active in asking the health department and puskesmas to involve by assigning nutrition expert they have to interchangeably visit the village health post (poskesdes) and puskesmas. The nutritionists’ arrival can also help improving the skill and capacity of the health cadres in the village,” he added.
“Keep in mind, the more children and toddlers suffer from malnutrition, the more Indonesia lose its young generation,” Sad Dian asserted.
This article is published on Tribunnews.com in Bahasa Indonesia with the title Desa Harus Membantu Anak Gizi Buruk.