Malnourished Children are Around Us

X Children in Central highland West Papua - Victor Mambor
Children in Central highland West Papua – Victor Mambor

Jayapura, Jubi  – Since malnutrition is never considered a disease, malnourished children have received less attention from the public, a journalist said.

“I witnessed it around my neighborhood and Toware, Waibu Sub-district. Then it encouraged me to write about this issue, to get people’s attention and open their mind,” Inez Seria Marweri, a civil journalist from Sentani told Jubi on Friday during the break of Workshop Meeting of News Editors and Papua Civil Journalists for Health Public Service Improvement in Jayapura City.

She said seriously affects children’s growth whether they live in the villages or urban areas. “Because most parents do not really care about it though it exists around us,” she said.

Even they often say it is not a disease and do nothing.
“Malnutrition will reduce the immune system, making sufferers vulnerable to diseases,” she said. She added no wonder the village chiefs always blamed the women for not taking care of health service as well as the family education programs at villages.

Meanwhile, malnutrition wasn’t the only case of Keerom Regency, it also happened at Merauke Regency. The Head of Merauke Health Office, dr. Stefanus Osok said malnutrition case in every regions including Merauke Regency couldn’t be intervened by government since it was directly related to the community welfare.

As long as the improvement of their economic status was stagnant, the malnutrition case would be automatically in line with their economic status. A data from Merauke Health Office showed the percentage of malnutrition and worse malnutrition in Merauke reaches twenty percent of the current number of toddlers. So, according to Osok, the number of malnutrition is around seven percent while the rest is worse malnutrition.

The MDGs set up a target for malnutrition figures should not be more than fifteen percent while worse malnutrition figures should not be more than five percent. “But why did we still find some malnourished toddlers? Because they consumed less nutritious intake as suggested. For example, a nutritious meal must consist of carbohydrate, protein, fat and fruits as well as vegetables. These ingredients should be consisted in a dish to be consumed, then coupled with a glass of milk. Therefore, once we had a tagline ‘Empat Sehat Lima Sempurna (Four for Health and Five for Perfection’, “ said Osok. (Dominggus Mampioper/rom)