Central Kalimantan has launched an intervention program to reduce childhood stunting, which is characterized by a chronic lack of nutrition that prevents optimal physical growth in children.
The intervention program covers information dissemination, counseling services, and efforts to change habits related to nutritional intake and health, head of the Central Kalimantan women’s empowerment, child protection, population control, and family planning office, Linae Victoria Aden, informed in Palangka Raya on Tuesday.
“We engage in sensitive intervention. What we do is the effort to change habits. We begin by (making) each family (put in their best so that) every child born from every couple (is not) stunted,” she said.
She stressed the importance of good nutritional intake, right from the fertilization stage to the first thousand days of a child’s life, for preventing stunting.
To ensure that nutritional needs are met during this crucial period, all couples must be educated about good parenting practices and nutrition, she said.
Preventing early marriages can also contribute to efforts to reduce the stunting rate, she added.
“If the couple getting married are still underage, or (have opted for an) early marriage, then stunting can become one of the risks. Because child marriage means these kids are not ready physically and mentally,” she explained.
Therefore, the government is also educating teenagers as well as families of prospective couples on the subject.
Other efforts include the dissemination of information about nutritional intake for prospective mothers, pregnant women, and babies, as well as the launch of an economic empowerment program.
“Because if a household is not (financially independent), it can be imagined that they would prepare any food as long as it makes them full, so nutritional intake is maybe (the least of their) concerns,” she said.
According to a study on national nutrition status in 2021, Central Kalimantan managed to suppress the childhood stunting rate from 32.3 percent to 27.4 percent in 2020.
The government is aiming to bring down the national stunting rate to 14 percent by 2024.
Source: Antara News