During the media delegation, GHA had the opportunity to visit the Cihampelas village and witness community-administered health care first hand at the local posyandu. A posyandu is an integrated health care post, where local residents can receive basic health services. The aim of these structures is to allow residents to obtain information as well as services on nutrition, early childhood education and immunisation inter alia.
These issues are of extreme importance in the Indonesian context given that only 59% of children are registered at birth, 1 in 3 children under the age of 5 are stunted and 1.8 million Indonesian children are not fully immunised. As this is the national average and Indonesia is a large country with great diversity, trends tend to be more negative in rural areas where infant mortality remains a lot higher.
The Government has sought to tackle these shortcomings by introducing the PNPM Generasi –an innovative health project- which seeks to address lagging MDGs. As part of the programme, districts receive block grants in order to carry out health activities, improve facilities and train medical staff. The village we visited had received such a grant and thus could offer a range of services to the local community.
For example, volunteers in Cihampelas are actively involved in spreading awareness about nutrition and the key elements of a nutritious diet. Mothers are instructed how to cook healthy dishes and how to make them more attractive for their children. Moreover, Cihampelas boasts a community garden which is at the community’s disposal. Vegetables grown in the local garden include tomatoes, spinach, beans and cucumbers. These structures are managed by local volunteers, so-called cadres, who ensure that the garden is well maintained.