I used to think that public health means bringing equal health facilities to the direst part of Indonesia, bringing all health work forces with advanced medical technology in one place.
I was focusing on building a hospital when my good friend asked me to try a height chart. It was a simple height measurement tool with generic information. Who knew that this would be the anchor of stunting alleviation? It was cheap, easy to install, and immerse in all social determinants.
Innovation is not only about new technological tools, but also about simple tools delivered differently and especially adapted to the end users. The height chart consists of height measurements for children between 9-24 months and practical ways to prevent stunting. It went through several human-centered design revisions gathering inputs from mothers and health workers. During installation, one-on-one counseling is conducted with mothers on how to use the height chart to measure their children and key behaviors to prevent stunting. In addition, village health workers participated in workshops designed to improve their knowledge of stunting prevention and reduction. Finally, to support continued uptake of knowledge and sustainability, nutritionists meet with village heads to motivate resource allocations for activities that encourage stunting prevention and reduction.
During a two years intensive collaboration with local Primary healthcare, and empowerment with community workers (Kader), the height chart has been installed across hundreds houses, under 21 Posyandu supervision. Moreover, with the frequent training to community health workers and health providers, there was a significant reduction in overall stunting rates from 28% to 14%.
And why does the height chart matter? Many health workers are facing difficulties of which information should be delivered first to caregivers. Often, the information given was too much, which ended up not digested by caregivers. The height chart was designed and has been revised several times, by mothers and for mothers. The information shown on the chart is simple, yet is hitting the major problem that causes stunting.
Looking forward to freeing Indonesia from stunting, and seeing the excel nation development, we’re hoping that the height chart can be used by all people, and all organisations and institutions. We can’t wait to hear back from Puskesmas workers, NGO, and local government who are also enthusiastic with the height chart. Let’s fight stunting together. [S Saputra]