Wednesday, May 20, 2015

New law, high hopes: Juvenile justice in Makassar

By Nick Baker, Communication and Knowledge Management Officer

Akmal is in school instead of a Makassar prison cell (pictured).
©UNICEF Indonesia/2015/Nick Baker

Fourteen-year-old Akmal* sits in the corridor of a large government office in Makassar. He seems nervous – playing with the zipper on his backpack, constantly adjusting his school uniform. It’s understandable given the imposing surroundings. “I’m OK,” he says softly. “This is better than a prison.”

A few months ago, Akmal was walking the Makassar streets with a friend. The friend decided to prove his bravado by stealing a gas canister from a nearby shop. Things didn’t go as planned and both boys were apprehended by police.

A prison sentence for petty crime is common in Indonesia. Although Akmal was not directly involved in the gas canister theft, a lengthy stint in prison was the expected outcome. But, thanks to the new Juvenile Criminal System Law that came into force in August 2014, Akmal’s story turned out very differently.

Monday, May 18, 2015

UNICEF’s psychosocial counselling on air is already making an impact

By Naresh Newar

On 7 May, Chiranjibi Adhikari, sitting with his injured 6-year-old son, Kritagya, in one of two UNICEF-provided tents set up on the grounds at Dhading District Hospital in the town of Dhading Besi, headquarters of Dhading District, speaks with a psychosocial counsellor live via his mobile telephone, during a segment of the UNICEF-supported Bhandai Sundai (Saying Listening) radio programme. ©UNICEF/2015/Panday.

Dhadingbesi, Nepal – Chiranjibi Adhikari had never seen his 6-year-old son Kritagya so restless.

“He is always looking for attention,” the 45-year-old said, “He wasn’t like this before."

Kritagya, he said, has been traumatised ever since the 7.8 Richter scale earthquake struck Nepal on 25 April 2015.

“I don’t know how to control this boy,” said Chiranjibi. “He is extremely panicky and nothing I do seems to calm him.”

Friday, May 15, 2015

Sulaeha’s story: Saving lives in Sumenep

Sulaeha is a mother of three from Sumenep in East Java. She has always been concerned about the welfare of not only her family but also her wider community. So Sulaeha recently decided to become a health volunteer.

“Just because I am not a trained health worker, does not mean I cannot help improve the health of children in my area,” Sulaeha says. “What I can do is help back-up important health facts with religious content.”

Sulaeha is the daughter of a respected religious leader and an active member of Fatayat – the women’s sub-unit of the Islamic organisation Nadhlatul Ulama, the largest Islamic organisations in the world with around 80 million members. So she has a broad knowledge of the Islamic religion.

Sulaeha runs health workshops in her local mosque ©UNICEF Indonesia/2015

Sulaeha’s volunteer role is to convince parents that immunisation is not only critical for their children but also in line with Islamic teachings. This is very important in an area like Sumenep, where a large majority of people follow Islam.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Nepal Earthquake: 5 things you need to know

It has been a shattering couple of days for children in Nepal and nearly 3 million children are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance after the earthquake. We take a look at five things you need to know about the disaster:

1. Worst in more than three quarters of a century

© UNICEF/NYHQ2015-1040/Nybo
The 7.8 magnitude earthquake on 25 April is the country’s worst in more than 80 years. More than 60 aftershocks have since been recorded, one as high as 6.7, adding to the devastation.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Maternal malaria: what it means for Indonesian children

By Maria Endang Sumiwi, Health Specialist Malaria

Dr Jeanne Rini Poespoprodjo* in the Mimika District Hospital in Papua. ©UNICEFIndonesia/2015

There has been much progress in the fight against malaria around Indonesia – the disease is gradually being eliminated district by district. But it still remains in many areas throughout the country. The Eastern Provinces continue to suffer disproportionately from the disease. In the worst-affected districts, one in three people will experience malaria each year.

Pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to malaria. They have an increased risk of infection and greater risk to suffer from severe malaria compared to non-pregnant women. What does this mean for Indonesian children? UNICEF asked a clinician that deals with malaria on a daily basis. Dr. Jeanne Rini Poespoprodjo is a paediatrician who has worked in Papua for the last 15 years:

Q : How would you describe the malaria situation in your hospital – especially regarding malaria in pregnancy?

A : Each month, there are about 100 to 150 malaria-associated outpatient visits to the hospital and at least two malaria admissions per day. Malaria in pregnancy occurs in 10 to 15 percent of pregnant mothers who are admitted to the maternity ward. About 30  percent of infant hospital admissions are due to malaria. My youngest patient was a one-day-old baby suffering from falciparum malaria with anaemia, most likely a congenital infection.