Australian Embassy

Australia Extends Its Child Nutrition Program to Pregnant Women

Media Release

15 June 2017

Australia will extend its program to improve the health of young children in East Java and East Nusa Tenggara with a new focus on pregnant women.

Under the partnership with Nutrition International, iron and folic supplements will be provided to 73,500 pregnant women to help prevent their babies being born underweight.

Around 240,000 children under five years old will be treated with Vitamin A, while 365,000 children will be treated with Zinc and Oral Rehydration Solution for diarrhoea.

Australian Ambassador to Indonesia, Paul Grigson, said underweight babies struggle to catch up developmentally, so the program will now include supplements for adolescent girls in school to ensure their children are given their best chance.

“Indonesia’s youth are one of its greatest assets, and Australia is committed to supporting Indonesia help these children get a great start and avoid the childhood illnesses which will hamper their development and impact on their families,” Ambassador Grigson said.

Early marriage creates adolescent mothers. Recent studies have shown that at least one-third of adolescent Indonesian girls are anaemic which significantly increases the likelihood poor neonatal health, low-birth weight babies and pre-term deliveries. There is a clear consensus that the first 1000 days in life are the most critical window for cognitive and physical development.

 “Our two countries are part of a dynamic region,” said Mr Grigson.  “It makes sense to invest in our shared future prosperity.”