3. More children are being treated for malnutrition in Indonesia
At 18-months-old, Karno weighed as much as a three-month-old baby. During a village health outreach in Indonesia, health care workers found he was suffering from severe acute malnutrition.
In Indonesia, more than 2 million children suffer from severe acute malnutrition, the most extreme and visible form of undernutrition which requires urgent treatment to survive.
But only a small number of these children are able to access the treatment they need. Many families are unable to accompany their children to hospital for weeks at a time and screening for SAM is not conducted routinely in the community.
Thankfully, Karno was taken to a community health centre and given ready to use therapeutic food – a peanut butter-like paste rich in vitamins and energy – to take home. His mother, Esi, also attended cooking classes, held by the community nutritionist, where she was taught how to prepare nutritious and affordable food for her family.
"I want all parents to know the importance
of detecting and treating malnutrition to
stop this happening to other children."
After six weeks Karno was healthy weighing 8.8kgs with an upper arm circumference measuring in the healthy, “green” zone.
“I want all parents to know the importance of detecting and treating malnutrition to stop this happening to other children,” Esi says.
In 2020, more than 129,000 children were treated for severe acute malnutrition, an increase from 20,000 in 2018.
Through this UNICEF supported program, boys and girls with severe acute malnutrition can now receive treatment at home with their families. This program increases the detection of children with severe acute malnutrition, by screening them in their own communities and improving access to treatment.
Following the success of this pilot program, the Ministry of Health plans to expand the program to the entire country by 2022, so children like Karno can survive and thrive.
These projects are supported by generous Australian donors and the Australian NGO Corporation Program.