The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) stated in a recently published report that Indonesia has made significant progress in reducing the country’s child mortality rate. According to the report, entitled “Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed (Progress Report 2015)", Indonesia’s mortality rate for children below the age of five years currently stands at 27 deaths per 1,000 births, a significant improvement from the 85 deaths per 1,000 births that was recorded in 1990.
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In the past decade Indonesia experienced economic growth, reduced poverty, and continued progress towards many of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). However, for the poor families in Indonesia, national economic improvements have brought only modest gains in both health and education. Poverty and the lack of related opportunities continue to challenge the development, school readiness, as well as educational progress of many Indonesian children, according to the World Bank.
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Relatively frequently Indonesia is shocked by major scandals; usually it is a high-profile corruption case involving politicians or big businessmen but since Friday (24/06) a new scandal arose that has been keeping local media busy. This scandal is more sensitive as it involves the health of little children. Apparently, fake vaccines have been given to children - primarily to babies under one year old - across Java for the past 13 years. Police arrested a total of 16 people on grounds that they have been involved in the production and distribution of fake counterfeit vaccines.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo has signed a controversial decree that introduces tougher penalties for child sex offenders in Indonesia. By replacing a 2002 law, Indonesia now introduces various new consequences for those who have been found guilty of sex offenses against children. The new penalties comprise the death penalty, chemical castration, life-long prison sentences, electronic monitoring (after release from prison), and the publicly announcement of the identity of the child molester.
A new World Bank report, entitled “The Double Burden of Malnutrition in Indonesia”, says that 37.2 percent of Indonesian children under the age of five - or 8.4 million children - are stunted (meaning excessively small for their age) and suffer from chronic malnutrition. As such, Indonesia has the fifth-highest level of stunting in the world. The report also states that 19.6 percent of Indonesian children under five years old (approximately 4.4 million) are underweight as a result of malnutrition. Public awareness about this issue is low in Indonesia.
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