Minister of Health meets with Save the Children CEO

Monday 23 February 2015

CEO Visit to Indonesia

The Minister of Health met Save the Children CEO, Jasmine Whitbread, in the Ministry of Health office on Wednesday morning. They discussed the work of Government of Indonesia in improving health care, especially in preventing maternal and newborn deaths in the country.

In the meeting Minister Nila explained the country’s efforts in improving health care system. “The government of Indonesia has been working hard to improve the health care system for the people. The universal health coverage system aims to enroll 121.6 million in the first year. Launching of Indonesia Health Card system expands the coverage system to the vulnerable groups, including children. The government has also signed off Newborn Action Plan last year”, said the Minister.   

Jasmine Whitbread expressed high appreciation of the government’s efforts in improving health care system, especially in preventing child deaths. “The implementation of universal health care system combined with the recently signed Newborn Action Plan will help the government to continue working to reach the target in decreasing maternal and newborn deaths”, said Jasmine. Jasmine was also pleased to learn that Indonesia has enacted national law to promote breast feeding practice. Exclusive breast feeding practice has been proven to improve infants’ immune system. Vaccine and immunization are other achievements that were appreciated. Indonesia has been praised by Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunization (GAVI) for reaching 90 percent of the country’s babies with immunization against measles. However, significant budget will need to be committed in order to keep the success of immunization coverage in the country.             

In the last five years, Indonesia has seen progress in health indicators. Life expectancy increased, mortality rate decreased as well as cases of communicable diseases. The country is on track in decreasing child mortality, with child mortality rate of 40 per 1,000 live births comparing to the MDG target of 32/1,000 live births. However, newborn mortality rate is still very high at 19 per 1,000 live births and it has been stagnant for years. A total number of 440 babies die every day before reaching their fifth birthday. Maternal mortality ratio remains at high 190 per 100,000 live births, and MDG target will not be achieved.

The meeting was concluded with an agreement that Save the Children and the Health Minister will closely collaborate in efforts to decrease newborn mortality rate in Indonesia. Save the Children will share its international knowledge and experience in preventing newborn deaths.

As a child focused NGO that has been working in Indonesia for 40 years, Save the Children has been supporting government in its health and other programs both at national and sub national level. Through the global “Every One” campaign (Kampanye untuk SEMUA), Save the Children is increasing public awareness on issues of maternal, newborn and child health.