Ending Early Marriage and Reducing Maternal Mortality Rate
Teach your family to have an healthy relationship with food.
The Women Research Institute (WRI) will launch a documentary film as well as hold a seminar entitled “Ending Early Marriage and Reducing Maternal Mortality Rate” on 12 December 2012 to draw public attention to the issue of adolescent reproductive health, which still lacks awareness in Indonesia. Women Research Institute’s experiences in capacity building programs for the community in Central Lombok and Gunungkidul, including women and adolescents, were presented in the short documentary. The film showed that early marriage and unplanned pregnancy are among the common incidence in the regions.
The basic problem that youths in Gunungkidul face is the lack of information, knowledge and understanding about their sexual and reproductive health. This factor caused teenagers to perform sexual relationships at a very young age, putting them at risk of unplanned pregnancies. As a result, they were forced to get married early. This was demonstrated by the amount of requests for official marriage dispensations to the Office of Religious Affairs in Gunungkidul District, which rose from 80 marriages in 2010 to 145 marriages in 2011 (Gunungkidul District Office of Religious Affairs database, 2012). Ages of couples applying for marriage dispensation range from 16 to 21 years old.
According to the data collected by PKBI in Gunungkidul, unplanned pregnancies reached 366 cases in 2010 and approximately 31,96% occurred among adolescents aged 11-19 (Adhiwarga Clinic, D.I. Yogyakarta, 2010).
Meanwhile in Central Lombok, the Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) is still considerably high – at 228 deaths per every 100,000 live births (SDKI 2007). West Nusa Tenggara is one of the provinces with the highest MMR in Indonesia. In Central Lombok District, there were 18,915 births in 2011 with the estimation that 10% of the births were among girls aged 14-19 (Central Lombok District Health Office database, 2012).
The proportion of women who have undergone abortion ranges from 10 percent (Central Lombok district) to 17 percent (Mataram city) (Household Survey on Maternal and Child Health Practices, GTZ, 2007), whereas 10% unsafe abortion cases in West Nusa Tenggara were performed by non-medical workers. While the regulation of abortion is still debatable in Indonesia, this data demonstrates the failure of health facilities in accommodating this issue properly (Household Survey on Maternal and Child Health Practices, GTZ, 2007).
Women Research Institute tried to analyze these phenomena in order to find solutions for women to obtain information on reproductive health and rights, including their reproductive health services. It was clearly observable how the condition of adolescent reproductive health is closely intertwined with poverty, both in Gunungkidul and Central Lombok.
As the future generation, youths hold a great potential in improving the condition of their reproductive and sexual health, so it is greatly important to involve them in the policy-making process. Therefore, they need to be educated in order to be capable of proposing policies that meet their needs.
As a result, Indonesian teenagers and youths will be more prepared in answering the challenges of reproductive health and the responsibilities they will face during their reproductive years.