The early years
From birth to 5 years old
Infant and under-5 mortality rates in Indonesia have halved since 1990, thanks to continued investment in health care. Progress in reducing maternal mortality has been slower, however, with an estimated 17,000 women losing their lives every year still due to complications in pregnancy and childbirth.
While mortality rates are improving, an estimated 190,000 Indonesian children still die every year before celebrating their fifth birthday . Almost half 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.
There remain serious challenges to children's early development. Stunting – being below average height for one’s age – affects 36 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 half of Indonesian children are exclusively breasted for the first six months of life . Moreover, only 37 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 57 per cent of children under age 5 have an official birth certificate.
Risks for mothers
Mothers are at risk from preventable deaths in pregnancy and childbirth. While the number of women receiving ante-natal care has increased in recent years, more than half of all 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 geographical and socio-economic disparities that affect Indonesia's youngest citizens.
For example, the infant mortality rate in East Nusa Tenggara province is 58 deaths for every 1,000 live births , almost double that of Yogyakarta province and much higher than the national rate of 40 deaths . Under-five and infant mortality rates amongst the poorest households are generally more than twice those in the highest income families.
There is a 17 per cent difference between the number of women in urban and rural areas who benefit from the attendance of a trained health worker during childbirth. More than 68 per cent of the lowest income mothers give birth at home, compared to just 12 per cent amongst the richest families.
Evidence points to a divide in take-up of early childhood education services between the poorest and wealthiest families; while almost three quarters of children aged 5 or 6 from the wealthiest households attend pre-primary or primary school, less than half of those from the poorest families do so.