Jakarta, Indonesia – Jhpiego and partner organizations recently launched the Expanding Maternal and Neonatal Survival (EMAS) program to help strengthen health services and reduce maternal deaths in the populous Southeast Asian country.
The five-year, $55 million program, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, is aimed at assisting the Indonesian Government with meeting its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for maternal and child health. By working with Indonesian Government agencies, civil society organizations, public and private health facilities, health professionals, and the private sector, the EMAS program is expected to result in an overall 25 percent decline in national maternal and newborn mortality over the next five years.
The program was launched by the Secretary General of the Ministry of Health (MOH), Dr. Ratna Rosita. Leslie Mancuso, Jhpiego President and CEO, participated in the launch in collaboration with Dr. Slamet Riyadi Yuwono, Director General of Nutrition, Maternal and Newborn Health Directorate, and Glenn Anders, the Mission Director of USAID Indonesia. The ceremonies were held on January 26 at the MOH.
During her address to an estimated 150 guests, Dr. Mancuso introduced Jhpiego’s partner organizations: Budi Kemuliaan Health Institute, Muhammadiyah, Save the Children, and RTI International. She highlighted the great strides that the Indonesian Government has made in the area of maternal and child health.
“Indonesia has infrastructure in place, trained health care providers, strong national programs, and many existing evidence-based policies,” Dr. Mancuso explained. “The EMAS partnership is committed to working with district, provincial, and national governments to identify where existing systems can be strengthened, technology can be applied, and the government supported so that mothers and newborns can efficiently access emergency care.”
Also attending were the President’s Special Envoy to the MDGs, MOH staff, private sector representatives, and members of the U.S. Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Business Council.
Mr. Anders, the Mission Director of USAID Indonesia, noted in his remarks that even though“almost 70 percent of women deliver with skilled birth attendants” in the country, “this has not been sufficient to reduce maternal and newborn mortality to the levels achievable in today’s Indonesia.”
More than 10,000 women and 80,000 newborns die in childbirth each year in Indonesia, mostly due to postpartum hemorrhage, eclampsia, infection, and low birth weight. The EMAS program will improve the quality of emergency obstetric and neonatal care services and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of referral systems between hospitals and community health centers.
The EMAS program will be implemented in 150 hospitals and 300 community health centers in six provinces with the largest concentrations of maternal and newborn deaths.
The word “emas” means “gold” in Bahasa Indonesia, and as Jhpiego’s Dr. Mancuso said, “We look forward to collaborating with all to ensure that the program does indeed have golden results” in improving maternal and newborn health.
Jhpiego (pronounced “ja-pie-go”), is an international non-profit health organization affiliated with Johns Hopkins University. For nearly 40 years, Jhpiego has empowered front-line health workers by designing and implementing effective, low-cost, hands-on solutions to strengthen the delivery of health care services for women and their families. Jhpiego works to break down barriers to high-quality health care for the world’s most vulnerable populations.