The early years
From birth to 5 years old
Infant and under-5 mortality rates in Indonesia half halved since 1990, thanks to continued investment in health care. Progress in reducing maternal mortality has been slower, however, with an estimated 10,000 women loing their lives every year still due to complications in pregnancy and childbirth.
While mortality rates are improving, an estimated 150,000 Indonesian children still die every year before celebrating their fifth birthday. More than one-third of under-5 deaths occur in the first month after birth, and can be attributed to complications from premature birth, still births and severe infections including pneumonia, meningitis and septicaemia. For those who survive beyond this point, diarrhoeal disease is responsible for nearly a quarter of deaths before the fifth year, and pneumonia causes another 17 per cent of under-5 deaths.
There remain serious challenges to children's early development. Stunting – being below average height for one’s age – affects 37 per cent of children under five while 18 per cent of children below the age of five are underweight.
Many infants are left unprotected against disease because of low levels of breastfeeding – less than one-third of Indonesian children are exclusively breasted for the first six months of life. Moreover, only 41 per cent of children aged between 6 and 23 months are fed according to recommended practices.
One key protection for all children - the right to an identity - is also lacking for many Indonesian youngsters; only around 40 per cent of children have an official birth certificate
Risks for mothers
Mothers are at risk from preventable deaths in pregnancy and childbirth - more than one-quarter of maternal deaths are caused by haemorrhaging, and a similar proportion due to eclampsia. While the number of women receiving ante-natal care has increased in recent years, more than half of deliveries still take place at home without specialist facilities on hand to deal with complications. More needs to be done to improve standards of care, in both public and private sector facilities and amongst health care workers.
Early childhood education
While Indonesia has set a goal of three-quarters of children up to the age of 6 benefiting from early childhood education, today less than half of these children access such services. Early childhood education is recognised as important for a child's overall growth and development, and improves their preparedness for school later in life.
Inequity in early childhood and motherhood
Data shows that behind improvements in national statistics, there are clear geograpghical and socio-economic disparities that affect Indonesia's youngest citizens.
For example, the infant mortality rate in East Nusa Tenggara province is 57 deaths for every 1,000 live births, three times that of Yogyakarta province and much higher than the national rate of 34 deaths. Under-five and infant mortality rates amongst the poorest households are generally more than twice those in the highest income families.
There is 22 per cent difference between the number of women in urban and rural areas who benefit from the attendace of a trained health worker during childbirth. More than 84 per cent of the lowest income mothers give birth at home, compared to just 15 per cent amongst the richest families.
Evidence points to an urban-rural divide in take-up of early childhood education services; while a quarter of children aged between 3 and 6 yers old in urban areas benefit from early chilhood education opportunities, this proportion falls to just 15 per cent of rural children.