In Focus

International Women's Day: Empowering women, improving children’s health and nutritional status

Thursday, March 8, 2012

By Anton Samrita, Lesvi Roselim and Ilmi Suminar

This article features a story of three women from rural Indonesia that play important role in improving children under the age of five’s health and nutritional status.  They are Nelce Adeline Nggoe from Sangginora Village of Poso, Mariana Sinaro from Tuasene Village of TTS and Miniati Hulu from Ononazara Village of North Nias. They work voluntarily as a cadre at integrated health post or posyandu in their village. Although they come from different background and areas, they hope the same: improving the health and nutritional status of the children in their village. 

 Posyandu cadres play important role in ending malnutrition in rural areas of Indonesia. Therefore capacity building for cadres is critical. CWS trains posyandu cadres to be able to deliver information and knowledge on health and nutrition to parents, especially mothers.
Posyandu cadres play important role in ending malnutrition in rural areas of Indonesia. Therefore capacity building for cadres is critical. CWS trains posyandu cadres to be able to deliver information and knowledge on health and nutrition to parents, especially mothers.
(Andi Mariyasari/ CWS Indonesia)

Nelce Adelin Nggoe of Sangginora

People of Sangginora, a village located 25 kilometers off Poso District’s capital, do not enjoy much improved health facilities. However, they are served by two secondary community health centers or Puskesmas Pembantu where a head nurse and a midwife provide health care and treatment. In addition, one posyandu -- named Nusa Indah – is also available in the village. The posyandu, which is serving 57 children under five years of age, runs its activities on every 24th day of the month. It is assisted by ten cadres.  

Among the ten cadres, there is Nelce Adeline Nggoe. She has been a professional health worker since 1976. The grandmother of three has been actively involved in posyandu activities for a long period of time. By experience and skill she owns, she has been appointed as the chairman of Nusa Indah posyandu. As a leader, she coordinates tasks among fellow cadres, including assigning who is in charge of registration, weighing, recording result of measurement on the growth card or Kartu Menuju Sehat. She is often in charge for recording and cooking supplementary feeding for the kids. “I enjoy serving for the community,” she claimed even though this job is not materially rewarding.  

     

Nelce Adelin Nggoe is showing mothers how to prepare food using Vitalita, the fortified micronutrients springkles.
Nelce Adelin Nggoe is showing mothers how to prepare food using Vitalita, the fortified micronutrients springkles.
(Anton Samrita/ CWS Indonesia)

 

For the woman who also likes to work in the field,” it is sad that parents do not bring their kids to posyandu.” “Mothers used to only bring their children when there’s a supplementary feeding activity,” she added. However, “CWS came to this village in 2010 with its early childhood development program, providing us with educational games and toys and training for educators and administrators,” said Nelce. “The children and their mother like it…the activities are still running until now.”

“I am grateful that CWS comes back here and helps us again to improve our children under the age of five’s nutritional status as well as to improve capacity of the cadres with its Vitalita program.”  Nelce and her fellow cadres attended training on health and nutrition in January. “We were taught how to do counseling and info session,” said the 58-year-old lady. Nelce claimed that before the training, most cadres did not fully understand the benefits of the food they usually consume, especially the vegetables and fruits planted in their garden or yards like yellow squash. “People used to say that consuming the yellow squash is pointless because there is no nutritional value but after training they know that the vegetable contains protein, vitamins and minerals,” Nelce pointed out. “Poeple give Pepaya to their pigs not knowing that papaya is also good for us as it contains vitamin C,” she added.

With Pospaud and Vitalita program, Ibu Nelce, as people called her, hopes that the children in Sangginora Village will grow to be healthy human beings and will all be able to attend higher education and one day will be able to serve the village and country.

Mariana Sinaro of Tuasene – TTS

Mariana Sinaro, a 64-year-old lady, is one of posyandu cadres in Tuasene Village. She has been serving in the posyandu for almost half of her life. Helping mothers register their children at the posyandu, measuring children under five years of age, recording the result of measurement on Kartu Menuju Sehat or growth card, and providing consultation have been her routine once in every month in addition to her other regulars activities like household work and farming since 1985.

Mariana Sinaro, a 64-year-old cadres who devotes her time to help her community to make their children health and grow optimaly
Mariana Sinaro, a 64-year-old cadres who devotes her time to help her community to make their children health and grow optimaly
(Blasius Halek/ CWS Indonesia)

 

Walking around twenty kilometers from her house to posyandu has not stop Mariana to voluntarily serve around 74 children as well as pregnant and lactating mothers and share information on health, nutrition and hygiene at the posyandu.  “I am happy to be a cadre. Not only that I am able to serve people, I can also improve my knowledge and skill on caring practice, health, and nutrition,” said the mother of four.

Mariana has attended three trainings facilitated by CWS. They included health, nutrition, hygiene, and sanitation training and dry food making and supplementary feeding training, as well as three-day-Vitalita training that she attended on January 18th to 20th with the other 25 cadres from six sub-districts in Timur Tengah Selatan District, aimed to improve the cadres knowledge and skill on health and nutrition as well as Vitalita, the micronutrient sprinkles. Not only receiving theory, she was also given opportunity to exercise providing consultation in front of other cadres; a skill that she can use when she has to give consultation to mothers at posyandu. “As posyandu cadre, to know information on health and nutrition and to be able to deliver it to mothers are important for us,” claimed Mariana. “But my favorite training is the dry food making and supplementary feeding,” she smiled. “After the training we bake biscuits made of local ingredient like corn and moringa leaves.”   

“What makes me sad being a cadre is that if mothers or parents do not come bring their children to posyandu or parents being ignorant of their baby’s health,” said the cadre who has served for 26 years. “I just hope that the children in our village can grow optimally, do not get sick easily and be successful in the future.”

Miniati Hulu of Ononazara, North Nias

Miniati Hulu is a 26-year-old cadre from Ononazara village, Tugala Oyo in Nias. This young lady works in a rubber plantation, collecting sap for a living. When asked what has encouraged her to be a cadre, Miniati or normally called Mini said, “I like being a cadre because it has given me the opportunity to improve my knowledge on health and nutrition and I also can encourage the villagers especially ones with children under age of five to be healthy through attending the posyandu activity.” At the posyandu, Mini’s job is mostly recording the result of measurement. She is often asked to be facilitator in health and nutrition info session.

 

 

Miniati Hulu, conducting Posyandu activity in Ononazara village, Nias
Miniati Hulu, conducting Posyandu activity in Ononazara village, Nias
(CWS Indonesia - Nias Office)

Her duty requires her to have a lot of knowledge, information and skills related to health and nutrition. Therefore capacity building is important for her as well as for her six fellow cadres. She participated in nine trainings provided by CWS. “I gained a lot of benefit from the training: new knowledge, new experience, more confident in delivering the information sessions using flip chart and other IEC materials provided,”  she claimed. “I have also been able to apply the knowledge in my work, share the knowledge with the mothers to improve their health and also their children’s health,” Mini added.   


The Posyandu activity was originally being carried out at a nurse’s house and later CWS Indonesia built Posyandu building for the community (picture above) in Ononazara village and since then the community has been conducting Posyandu activity there.
The Posyandu activity was originally being carried out at a nurse’s house and later CWS Indonesia built Posyandu building for the community (picture above) in Ononazara village and since then the community has been conducting Posyandu activity there.
(CWS Indonesia - Nias Office)

The posyandu is serving 85 children now. However, only 45 are actively involved. “Posyandu activities and all the information shared will improve the community’s awareness and encourage more mothers to take their children to posyandu,” she hoped. “The community, especially mothers, will be able to apply the knowledge and information they received in their daily lives so that their health and their children’s will be improved.”

 

Happy International Women's Day!

"Empower Rural Women – End Hunger and Poverty"

 

 

 

 



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