Published: 16/12/2013

The objectives of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) on services regarding to sexual and reproductive health and rights are still far from adequate. The number of adolescents in the Asia-Pacific region reaches up to half the population of adolescents worldwide. In Indonesia, one of five people is those aged 15-24 years old or approximately 63 million lives (33% of Indonesia’s total population), but the current policy and program agendas have yet to fulfil their needs.


Although the Health Law No. 36 of 2009 has regulated the rights and obligations for health services, and has provided legal protection and certainty for service providers such as health manpower (Article 21-29) as well as healthcare beneficiaries (Article 56-58). However, unfortunately the policies are yet to be transformed into concrete programmes to serve the reproductive needs of adolescents; whereas the policy actually states that the government’s responsibility includes providing health services such as resources that could provide healthcare for society.


Apart from that, there are other policies that do not support reproductive and sexual health, such as the Marriage Law No. 1 of 1974 which sets the minimum age for marriage at 16 for females and 19 for males. As a result, this policy encourages the phenomenon of early marriage which causes an increase in early pregnancies among young women, where their reproductive organs have not fully developed. This increases their risks for pregnancy complications which may lead to maternal mortality, affecting the Maternal Mortality Rate in Indonesia which occurs among younger mothers. Thus, the Maternal Mortality Rate in Indonesia is still quite high due to the lack of facilities in accessing reproductive healthcare for women.


The 2012 data from SDKI shows a sharp increase in the Maternal Mortality Rate in Indonesia, reaching up to 359/100,000 live births. This shows that Indonesian adolescents are not adequately prepared to face the challenges of reproductive health and the responsibilities that they will face when they enter their reproductive years.


It is thus important for the government to immediately issue a policy that provides reproductive healthcare facilities for adolescents and women. 


The Women Research Institute (WRI) is currently designing a programme to increase the access to reproductive healthcare for adolescents. As the first step to this programme, WRI will hold a seminar under the theme of “Sexual and Reproductive Health and Right for Youths”, which will be held today.


This programme is expected to push the government to initiate programmes and policies that can cater to the needs of adolescents, particularly in sex education and reproductive health.


Jakarta, 18 December 2013

Women Research Institute