Jakarta. Indonesia and the United States on Friday (22/12) launched a five-year program to improve health services for poor and vulnerable mothers and newborns, seeking to reduce preventable deaths in the world’s fourth most populous country.
The "Jalin" program, which will be spearheaded by the United States Agency for International Development (Usaid) and the Ministry of Health, aims to improve efficiency and efficacy through better responsiveness in private and public health services by engaging health professionals, policymakers and insurance providers.
"By ensuring that mothers and newborns are healthy, we will strengthen the family unit and develop a strong and prosperous society," Kimberly Kelly, acting ambassador and counselor for consular affairs at the US embassy in Jakarta, said, as quoted in a statement received by the Jakarta Globe.
According to the statement, the program will be focused on several key provinces including Central Java, South Sulawesi and Banten.
For the 2017-2019 period, Jalin will implement their programs in six provinces with $32 million in funding.
In 2016, US foreign aid to Indonesia amounted to $157 million.
According to Usaid, 40 mothers and 247 newborns die every day in Indonesia – the number is among the highest maternal and neonatal death rates in the region.
The program seeks to reduce maternal and infant mortality rates in Indonesia, which is a priority for the government under the country’s National Medium Term Development Plan for 2015-2019 period.
“The Ministry of Health is committed to cooperate with multistakeholders to realize a healthy and prosperous society,” the statement said.
The program was launched following US President Donald Trump’s threat to cut aid for countries voting against the United States during a rare emergency session on the status of Jerusalem at the United Nations General Assembly.
A total of 128 countries voted in favor of a resolution calling for the US to withdraw its declaration to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This includes Indonesia, who is also one of the co-sponsors of the resolution.