The children

The early years

The school years

Adolescents and youth


The early years


From birth to 5 years old

Indonesia has made significant progress in reducing child mortality to 27 deaths per 1,000 births from the 85 deaths per 1,000 births that was recorded in 1990. Thanks to continued and strategic investment in health care and prevention, it achieved its Millennium Development Goal target to reduce infant and under-5 mortality rates by two thirds by 2015. Around 5 million children have been saved who would not have reached their fifth birthday if mortality rates had remained at the same level as in 1990.

Despite the overall progress, an estimated 147,000 Indonesian children still die every year before celebrating their fifth birthday, with almost half of under-5 deaths occurring in the first month after birth. Most of these deaths relate to vaccine-preventable disease, pneumonia, complications of childbirth, alongside the double burden of diarrhea and undernutrition.

Substantial challenges also remain with regards to children's nutritional status. Stunting – below average height for one’s age – on average affects 36 per cent of children under 5, seriously hampering their cognitive and physical development. Further to this, 20 per cent of children below the age of 5 are underweight.  

Low levels of breastfeeding contribute significantly to these challenges. While a high number of women (96 per cent) breastfeed their child at some point, only 42 per cent of infants aged under 6 months are exclusively breastfed, and hence are better protected against many diseases.

Risks for mothers

Pregnancy and childbirth still constitute major risks for many women. Progress in reducing maternal mortality has been slow, with an estimated 17,000 women still losing their lives every year due to complications during pregnancy and childbirth. 

 While the number of women receiving antenatal care has increased in recent years, approximately one quarter of all births still take place at home without the assistance of a trained health worker who could deal with complications. More needs to be done to improve standards of care, in both public and private sector facilities and among health care workers to eliminate preventable maternal deaths.

Early childhood education

Early childhood education and stimulation are key for a child's overall mental and physical growth and development, and improves their preparedness for school. Around one in three children under the age of six are still not benefitting from early childhood education.  

Many Indonesian youngsters also do not have their birth registered – therefore losing out on their basic right to an identity. Around 27 per cent of children under age 5 are without an official birth certificate, which will hamper their ability to access social services and schooling. This number is significantly higher in rural areas.

The reality behind the averages 

Data showing improvements at the national level often mask significant geographical and socio-economic disparities in maternal, newborn and child health represent a major barrier to sustained progress towards every child’s right to survive and thrive.

For instance, children born into the poorest 20 per cent of households are almost three times as likely to die during their first five years as those from the richest 20 per cent.

Indonesia has an overall health worker-to-population ratio close to WHO’s recommended level, but health workers are unequally distributed throughout the country. Thus there is a 17 per cent point 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 12 per cent amongst the richest families. 

Under-5 and infant mortality rates amongst the poorest households are generally more than twice those in the highest income families. 

Evidence also 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 school, less than half of those from the poorest families do so.  




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