Indonesia government to revamp family planning

Indonesia government to revamp family planning
The Indonesian government is gearing up to revitalize its family planning (KB) program after being dormant for more than a decade.
PHOTO: Reuters

The government is gearing up to revitalise its family planning (KB) programme after being dormant for more than a decade, starting with the launch of KB villages in January.

Such a plan was needed as the country was experiencing a baby boom with roughly 4.5 million births annually, equal to 85 per cent of Singapore's population, according to the government.

"The project will be launched by the President in January in Cirebon and Pangandaran. This is a pilot project to see how we can transform a region that is falling behind in terms of demographic development and family planning," National Population and Family Planning Board (BKKBN) head secretary Ambar Rahayu said on Monday.

She said that people in the two villages that would not just be educated on contraception but other issues surrounding family planning such as early marriage.

"They will receive integrated intervention not only from the BKKBN but also other government agencies," Ambar said. "We will start by touching on the topic of early marriage. Sustainable intervention needs to occur."

To prepare for the project, the BKKBN is training its field officers to facilitate communication and become development agents there, according to her.

"There will be certification for PLKB [field information officers in the KB programme] so that they will properly educate people there," said Ambar.

The project also aimed to stimulate growth at the village level, she added.

"With the existence of village development funds, it will be a pity if they are not utilized to develop quality human resources because to do so, you have to start at the family level," Ambar said.

Besides the launch of KB villages, the BKKBN is developing smartphone apps aimed at providing thorough education on family planning.

"In this era of netizens, posters might not have much appeal anymore," said Ambar. "There will be information on how to plan a family, choose contraceptives, plan pregnancies, implement a family planning programme post pregnancy and so on."

The apps, available on Android devices, have been launched in North Sumatra, Central Java and South Sulawesi.

The country's KB programme started in the 1970s, proving to be a success with a decrease in the number of people under 15 years old in the 1980s.

This decrease, coupled with the high birth rates in the 1960s-1970s, which led to a rise in younger age groups (15 years and above) in the 1990s, has changed the age structure in the country by decreasing the non-productive population and increasing the productive population, otherwise known as a demographic bonus.

The country has the opportunity to take advantage of the demographic bonus until the year 2030.

However, the advantage is at great risk of turning into a disadvantage as the country is struggling with a baby boom that could lead to demographic burden.

The country's target population growth rate is 1.1 per cent, whereas it currently sits at 1.49 per cent.

Ambar said that the population boom, following the success of the KB programme, was caused by the programme's slogan change.

BKKBN head Surya Chandra previously said that the country's growth rate was worrying, especially if such massive growth was not accompanied by global manpower competitiveness.

The fastest growth rates were recorded in East Nusa Tenggara, West Nusa Tenggara, Maluku and Riau Islands.

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