The Health Ministry on Wednesday launched the Indonesian version of the fourth edition of Unicef’s Facts for Life, to improve public awareness of healthy habits and Indonesia’s infant and maternal health indicators.
Facts for Life is a guidebook promoting methods developed by the United Nations’ Children’s Fund (Unicef) and other agencies.
This latest edition, which is intended to be distributed to community health centers and community organizations across Indonesia, contains updates on issues including child protection and the health of newborns.
“We hope the messages contained in this book can be applied by Indonesians,” the ministry’s secretary-general, Ratna Rosita, said on behalf of Health Minister Endang Rahayu Sedyaningsih at the launching event in Jakarta.
The book, titled Penuntun Hidup Sehat (Guide to Healthy Living), was a “development and adaptation” of the fourth Facts for Life guide, the minister says in the book’s foreword.
Endang said the book would hopefully have positive impacts such as improvements to the global indicators of infant and maternal deaths, which are among the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
“The government has a strong commitment to achieving the MDGs, including improving maternal and infant health.”
By 2015, Indonesia is aiming to reduce its maternal mortality rate to just over 100 per 100,000 live births. The number stood at 228 deaths for every 100,000 live births in 2007.
The infant mortality rate was 34 for every 100,000 live births, while the national mid-term development goal includes reducing this rate to 24 for every 100,000 live births.
Angela Kearey, the head Unicef representative in Indonesia, said in her foreword to the book that the guide was essential reading material for health promoters, religious leaders, peer educators, teachers and media workers.
The Unicef website also mentions that the fourth edition includes sections on newborn health and a special chapter on child protection.
According to Kearney, the wide variety of topics ranging from maternal and newborn health to nutrition, early development and child protection were part of viewing children holistically way.
The maternal and newborn health chapter of the book mention that during childbirth, a trained labor assistant should place the infant in the mother’s bosom immediately after the birth and let the newborn search for their mother’s nipples as an early breast-feeding initiation.
The chapter on child protection mentions that children should be taught to let their parents know if they have been experiencing physical contact that was intended to harm them.
The head of the ministry’s Center for Promoting Health, Lily Sulistyowati, said up to 20,000 copies of the guide would be distributed to around 8,000 community health centers, community based organizations, religious organizations, and hospitals.
“The previous editions of the book were not used to the fullest,” she said.
Read the original Jakarta Post news article here.