An innovative digital information platform tackling wasting in Indonesia

Vanessa Oddo, Airin Roshita, Julia Suryantan, Blandina Rosalina Bait , Messerassi Ataupah and Jee Hyun Rah
UNICEF Indonesia

Indonesia is home to approximately 2.2 million severely wasted (weight-for-height zscore < -3) children under five years of age (Ministry of Health, 2018). In response to low coverage and the quality of facility-based treatment (Bait et al, 2019), the Indonesian Ministry of Health, with support from UNICEF, began implementing community based treatment of severe wasting in the East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) province in 2016.

This includes child screening via mid-upper-arm circumference (MUAC) measurements, visible thinness and bilateral oedema, followed by home-based care for severely wasted children who are without medical complications but with appetite. Home-based care involves providing ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) and antibiotics, as well as weekly visits to health centres for health check-ups, growth monitoring and counselling on optimal feeding practices. This approach has improved coverage and treatment for severely wasted children. However, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and the accompanying social and mobility restrictions, have caused major disruptions to treatment services and increased food insecurity which may exacerbate the burden of child wasting in Indonesia (Akseer et al, 2020).

Key messages from the article : 

  • This article presents the findings from a rapid assessment of the effectiveness of a digital platform to counsel parents and caregivers of children with wasting in East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia.
  • Information provided to parents and caregivers in written, visual and audio formats via an innovative digital platform improved their knowledge of wasting symptoms, measurement and treatment.
  • The participants described the information as clear and found the videos particularly helpful in understanding how to measure mid-upper-arm circumference and interpret the results, when to seek treatment and when to administer ready-to-use-therapeutic-food. However, digital-literacy and connectivity challenges restricted the use of the platform for a few participants.



This resource presents evidence or data but has not been peer reviewed