Malnutrition & Morality in Tangerang

Apr 9th, 2006, in News, by

While the administration of Tangerang, in Banten province, near Jakarta, frets about the length of schoolgirls' skirts and decides that four minute kissing bouts are ok but not five minutes, real problems in the city, such as child malnutrition, are ignored.

The Jakarta Post recently detailed some stories of malnutrition in Tangerang among small children, including some which resulted in death. They said that data from the regency's health agency shows that 1,871 children under the age of five -- mostly from areas along the north coast, such as Teluk Naga and Rajeg districts -- are malnourished.

Two children, 11 month old Suharto and 17 month old Andriyansah, died last week from complications arising from malnutrition in the Legok and Balaraja districts of Tangerang. Some of the story went like this:

Eighteen-month-old Citra stares vacantly up at the ceiling of her parents' small house in Dadap village in Serpong, Tangerang. The malnourished child was sickly at birth.

"I don't have the money to take her to hospital for treatment," said her father Nurhasan, who is a farmer.

In February, Citra was admitted to Tangerang General Hospital, where she stayed for a week before being transferred to Cipto Mangunkusumo General Hospital in Jakarta for specialist treatment.

Most children of her age weigh about 15 kilograms, while Citra weighs just over five.

The head of Serpong Community Health Center, Khow Loanita, said the center was supplying the family with enriched food for Citra.

"That's all we can do," she said Friday.

A health worker was reported as saying that although malnutrition cases in the district had dropped from 37 in February to 22 in March, the health centre was struggling to treat some of the children because they also had tuberculosis.

They have been taking food supplements for six months [two litres of milk and four packets of enriched biscuits a month], but we see no progress.

the health worker said.

The prevalence of malnutrition is attributed to poverty caused by unemployment or harvest failure. Dozens of factories in the regency laid off thousands of workers after last year's fuel price increases. Farmers in the regency's north have been struggling since pests attacked thousands of hectares of rice fields last year.

Meanwhile, as children starve, the morality building control freakery goes on.


One Comment on “Malnutrition & Morality in Tangerang”

  1. avatar Ulf says:

    Well, ruling on kissing or skirt lenght is not going to cost money, while children nutrition is. It is easy to see why the government is likely to engage in moral inquisition as such brings attention and support to those earning large wages from tax payers, whilst public welfare does not.

    Politicians never like becoming heroes. Such is left for idealists, as idealism does not pay.

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