“Our anemia rate is still high, 37 percent,” BKKBN head Hasto Wardoyo noted at an online event that was followed from here on Thursday.
The percentage of adolescent girls who have received iron supplements from the government across Indonesian schools has reached 76.2 percent, he said. Meanwhile, 23.8 percent of adolescent girls have not received the supplements.
He explained that based on BKKBN data, out of the 76.2 percent adolescent girls, those who received more than 52 iron supplement tablets stood at 60.96 percent.
However, of the 60.96 percent, the number of adolescent girls who are regularly receiving and consuming more than 52 iron supplement tablets is only 0.9 percent.
The low compliance rate has become one of the reasons for the BKKBN to conduct health checks on prospective brides three months before marriage. Meanwhile, the other reason is that 36 percent of mothers in Indonesia suffer from chronic energy deficiency.
The BKKBN head explained that anemia is a condition in which the body lacks nutrition, folic acid, and Vitamin D. In women, anemia can be dangerous as it can make the placenta of the fetus thin and cause a nutritional deficiency in the baby while it is in the womb. As a result, the baby has the potential to be born stunted.
He affirmed that the BKKBN has continued to advise people not to become pregnant before 20 or after 35 years of age. In addition, people are also advised not to get pregnant too frequently.
Director general of public health at the Ministry of Health, Maria Endang, said that, based on the ministry’s data, of the 106,406 adolescent girls screened, 15,040 were confirmed to suffer from anemia.
According to her, the data has shown that the nutritional situation of the nation’s children is not in the good category.
To address this, the Health Ministry is implementing the “Action for Nutrition” strategy in junior high schools, senior high schools, Islamic boarding schools, and equivalent educational institutions across 12 priority provinces to accelerate the reduction of stunting prevalence.
Under the program, students exercise together, have breakfast together, receive nutrition education, and consume iron supplements together.