Editorial: Better Health for Kids a Gratifying Result
Indonesia’s public health system is not often praised or seen as a role model for developing countries. But a recent report by Unicef shows a significant achievement by the country in reducing mortality among women and children.
Since 1990, mortality among Indonesian women and children has declined by more than half, according to global estimates in “Building a Future for Women and Children,” published by the Countdown to 2015 Initiative. The government should be congratulated for making such giant strides in improving the quality of life for its most disadvantaged citizens.
“Indonesia has made important progress to improve the health of its mothers and children, since making its own commitment to a World Fit for Children,” said Dr. Robin Nandy, Unicef’s chief of child survival and development in Indonesia.
Improved health policy and legislation, a renewed focus on reducing malnutrition and improved services such as ante-natal care have all contributed to the reductions in overall mortality.
But with some 150,000 children not making it past the age of five and 10,000 women losing their lives at child birth each year, more can be done.
Unicef has said that Indonesia must focus on system-wide approaches that address all components — human resources, health and nutrition education, access to care, quality of services, regulation and standardization of services, governance and adequate levels and targeting of financing.
In other words, investing in a more equitable health care system serving the rising middle class as well as the most vulnerable members of society.
The government must at the same time reform the education sector so that our children can look forward to a better future. The combination of a better health care system and modern education will help reduce poverty and sustain economic growth and social stability.