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Jakarta, INDONESIA – Nutrition International and the Indonesian Ministry of Health last week launched a translated version of a free online course on adolescent nutrition and anaemia in Bahasa, the official language of Indonesia, during an event marking the Indonesian National Day of Nutrition.

“Adolescents the world over are extensively impacted by malnutrition, said Sri Kusyuniati, Country Director, Nutrition International in Indonesia. “Girls are more vulnerable to malnutrition due to their specific biological needs. It is unfortunate that one in four adolescent girls in Indonesia suffer from anaemia, which may result in giving birth to stunted babies in the future. The adoption of the Adolescent Nutrition and Anaemia course is a welcome measure that will aid health practitioners at all levels to improve health and nutrition programming. We are happy to collaborate with the Ministry of Health for this launch.”

The self-paced course was initially developed in English (with transcripts in eight other languages) by Nutrition International to help health and nutrition program planners and implementers design national and local evidence-based programs to improve nutrition. Topics include the global anaemia situation, the impact on women and adolescent girls, causes and consequences of anaemia, global guidelines, existing interventions to improve adolescent nutrition, data gaps, and research needs. The course is designed for program managers of adolescent health and nutrition programs, researchers, academics, health sciences students, teachers, policy makers from health, education and related sectors, and development professionals working in nutrition and related sectors.

One in four adolescent girls and nearly half of pregnant women in Indonesia are anaemic, making it a major public health concern in the country. The government has implemented various programs – including mandatory wheat flour fortification, iron and folic acid supplementation for pregnant women, weekly iron and folic acid supplementation for adolescent girls, nutrition education, and promoting dietary diversity. All these activities are aimed at reducing anaemia rates and achieving the national vision of reducing the prevalence of stunting to 14% by 2024.

“Specific interventions for the first 1,000 days program have been conducted to identify nutrition issues of pregnant women, newborns, children under two, and adolescents,” said Murti Utami, acting Director General of Public Health, Ministry of Health, Government of Indonesia, while delivering the opening remarks at the National Nutrition Day Talk Show, where the Adolescent Nutrition and Anaemia course was launched. “Some of the nutrition interventions which have proven effective and efficient include micronutrient supplementation for adolescents and pregnant women, routine monitoring of child growth and development, infant and child feeding promotion through early breastfeeding initiation, exclusive breastfeeding, appropriate child feeding, as well as increased intake of animal-sourced protein.”

The Adolescent Nutrition and Anaemia course is another significant step towards educating program practitioners in Indonesia on best practices for national anaemia reduction programs. The development of the course was funded by the Government of Canada. Translation to Bahasa was done with the support of the Government of Australia.