Remarks of President of the Republic of Indonesia at the Opening of the National Working Meeting on Family Development, Population and Family Planning (Banggakencana) Program and Stunting Reduction, January 25, 2023

By Office of Assistant to Deputy Cabinet Secretary for State Documents & Translation     Date 25 Januari 2023
Category: Remarks @en
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Bismillahirrahmanirrahim.

Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
Good morning,
May peace be upon us all,
Om swastiastu,
Namo buddhaya,
Greetings of Virtue.

Distinguished Ministers, Head of the National Population and Family Planning Board (BKKBN), as well as Prof. Riono in attendance;

Distinguished Commander of the Indonesian National Defense Forces (TNI), Chief of the Indonesian National Police (Polri), as well as Army Chief of Staff (Kasad), Navy Chief of Staff (Kasal), Air Force Chief of Staff (Kasau);

Distinguished Regional Heads and ranks of the BKKBN.

Ladies and Gentlemen.

All countries are in competition. We are competing with others. During the G20 [Summit], we seemed to embrace each other, but actually we are in a competition. In ASEAN, we seemed to embrace each other, but actually we are also in the same competition. We are competing for investment, technology sectors. All countries are in competition. And, the key is qualified, advanced human resources.

As dr. Hasto said, the tasks of BKKBN are focusing on, first, the quality of family and, second, the balance of population growth. Indeed, the tasks of the BKKBN are not simple. Developing a prosperous family is not that easy. But I am sure that 1.2 million facilitators supported by their assistants at the BKKBN can make it. It means that advanced human resources serve as a key for nation’s competitiveness.

Stunting in our country is a big issue that must be solved immediately. When I was inaugurated in 2014, the rate [of stunting] was at 37 percent. I was surprised. And it was earlier mentioned by dr. Budi Sadikin, I always call Minister of Health as dr. Budi. Although he is not a doctor but he was inaugurated as Minister of Health. As Minister of Health said that in 2022, the rate [of stunting] decreased by 21.6 percent thanks to our hard works. The impact of stunting is not only a matter of height. The most dangerous threat is that it can affect the child’s ability to learn, mental retardation, and the emergence of chronic diseases that easily attack the child’s immune system.

Thus, the target is fourteen percent in 2024. We must be able to achieve it. I am sure that through collaboration, that figure is possible to be achieved as long as everyone works together. [With the figure], in ASEAN we are at the middle of the rank. A 21.6 percent rate is at the middle of the rank. If we can meet the target of 14 percent, we will rank below Singapore.

Regarding the figure in provinces, the Health Minister said that five provinces with the highest percentage are East Nusa Tenggara, West Sulawesi, Aceh, West Nusa Tenggara, and Southeast Sulawesi, while based on numbers, the result is different. The five provinces [with the highest number of stunted children] are West Java, East Java, Central Java, North Sumatra, and Banten. We have checked the figures. If we have their names, addresses, it will be useful to solve the problem considering the target is clear; who are they and what we have to do.

As I have checked in Sumedang regency, with the help of application, every individual can be monitored [related to stunting]. Their needs can be checked through the platform. We should adopt similar program nationwide so we are able to achieve the target since the total number of children under 5 years of age in the country is quite high, at around 21.8 million. But we also have to remember that we have 300 thousand integrated health posts (Posyandu) and 10,200 community health centers (Puskesmas). With all health infrastructures we have, all those problems will be easy to be solved, if we can manage it properly. The problem is that the number of the Puskesmas in each region across Indonesia is not the same. There are only seven Puskesmas in one certain district, while other districts only have one or two Puskesmas.  The uneven number is the problem that must be solved.

Also on USG devices, patient height/weighing scales, how much are these devices? How much is the budget of Ministry of Health? It is huge, isn’t it? If there are now 5,000 devices, provide more 5,200 devices. The problem will be solved. How much is the scale cost? How much is the digital scale? It is affordable, isn’t it? How come a big country like us cannot afford that? How come a Posyandu do not have a device to measure length of a baby or height of a child? Considering that the current Health Minister was a banker, he should have more abilities in calculating numbers. The most important thing is to solve the problem this year.

On health aspects including anemia, breast milk, and other health aspects, I would not talk about that since all of you may know it better than me. The issue of environment sector including clean water, sanitation, healthy housing is an integrated work. It must be consolidated. To that end, I assign Head of the BKKBN as the coordinator for other ministries, agencies, and regional governments considering that the BKKBN has human resources that are able to make it happen.

After inspecting on the ground, I can conclude that the target of 14 percent is not that hard to achieve. It is about our willingness, as long as we can consolidate it and do not make a wrong move. From what I have seen on the ground, Ministry of Health still provides biscuits for children. I know it is an easy way. I know the auction [process] is easy; while eggs and fish are relatively harder to store since it can easily spoil and go bad. But stop doing it. The babies and children must be given eggs or fish.

I am pleased that our population growth, according to dr. Hasto, is at 2.1 [percent], the number of marriages (per year) is at two million, while the number or pregnant women is at 4.8 million. It means that no sex recession in Indonesia. The growth of 2.1 percent is a good figure. All of you have to remember that the number of population is an economic strength for a country. However, the most important thing is the quality [of human resources].  Babies, pregnant women must be provided with high-protein food, fishes, eggs. I have watched news showing a seven-month-old baby was fed instant coffee milk by the mother. She thought that it contained milk. Please be cautious.

Once again, dissemination is important. That case happened because the woman said that coffee milk was good for the baby since it contains milk. Please be cautious. Baby’s kidney, heart, and stomach are weak. I have read that the police has met the baby’s parents. The officer of the Posyandu, the BKKBN should come first to the parents. Thanks to the fast response of the Polri, the officer has come faster than the BKKBN facilitator.

Once again, the quality of family, the quality of human resources are keys for our country to compete with other countries. Synergy among ministries, agencies, regional governments, health workers, TNI-Polri, and private sectors is also vital.

Let me give an example when I was in Kampar regency. I always make on the ground inspections so that I always get good news and bad news. Kampar regency did a good job. Stunting rate dropped from 32 percent to 7 percent. How come? Stunting patients were handled by private sectors; they have foster parents. Around 50, 200, 300 patients have been taken care of so that the figure dropped. I am sure that other regions can do the same. For example in Java island, there are a lot of private companies. The companies can handle them so that they will have high social responsibilities.

That concludes my remarks on this auspicious occasion. By saying bismillahirrahmanirrahim, I officially inaugurate the 2023 National Working Meeting on Family Development, Population and Family Planning (Banggakencana) Program and Stunting Reduction.

I thank you.

(AP/RAS/MMB)

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