UNICEF Helps Indonesian Children

JAKARTA ~ Indonesia and the UN Children’s Fund have agreed to increase efforts to improve conditions for children here.

UNICEF’s Indonesia representative Gianfranco Rotigliano said the fund would spend US$120 million next year in the country.

While Indonesia had made “considerable progress” in providing primary education, improving literacy and reducing child mortality, Rotigliano said it still needed to address child malnutrition, maternal mortality and regional disparities.

“The outbreak of polio in Indonesia after an absence of 10 years was a wake-up call that services to children, in particular immunization, had faltered,” he said in a statement on Thursday.

Polio infections have been confirmed in at least 304 children here since it resurfaced in March 2005, a decade after it was believed to have been eradicated.

Dedi M. Masykur Riyadi, deputy head of Indonesia’s National Development Planning Agency, said cooperation with UNICEF had helped identify problems and would be replicated in provinces where the UN body does not operate.

“One of the benefits of this cooperation program is its ability to identify development issues such as child protection, trafficking, birth registration and emergency response,” Riyadi said.

The 2007 agreement between the Indonesian government and UNICEF focuses on health and nutrition

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