Indonesian researchers develop stunting early detection kit

Indonesian researchers develop stunting early detection kit
Illustration. (Luma Pimentel on Unsplash)

Jakarta (Indonesia Window) – A research team from the Faculty of Medicine, Public Health, and Nursing of Gadjah Mada University (UGM) in Yogyakarta has developed a device called GAMA-KiDS to help detect stunting earlier.

“The development of GAMA-KiDS is inseparable from the issue of stunting which has been in the spotlight for the past few years, even during the COVID-19 pandemic,” a lecturer from the Department of Health Nutrition, FKKMK UGM, Dr. Siti Helmiyati, said in her official statement in Yogyakarta on Friday (Dec. 24).

According to her, various studies have proven that the stunting problem in Indonesia needs special attention. One of the keys in efforts to overcome stunting is the speed of early detection which is generally carried out by Posyandu (community health center) cadres.

The device is expected to help improve the ability of Posyandu officials in conducting early detection of stunting.

Dr. Siti Helmiyati explained that stunting is a condition in which a child’s height or body length is less than two standard deviations from the average height or body length of his or her age group.

GAMA-KiDS, she explained, consists of a mat to measure body length, a disc measuring nutritional status and body length according to age, as well as a user manual.

“Stunting can have an impact on cognitive decline, a weak immune system, and low emotional development,” he said.

If a child has shown signs of stunting and does not immediately get an improvement in nutritional status, as a result in adulthood she or he is difficult to become a productive person, gets sick easily, and becomes a burden for himself, his family, and society.

According to Dr. Siti Helmiyati, efforts to detect stunting earlier still face a number of obstacles because not all Posyandu cadres are able to carry out early detection. In addition, not all regions have a valid body length measurement tool.

“Many of the body length measuring instruments used are self-made by the community and have not been tested for validity,” he said.

GAMA-KiDS was first developed in 2019 and further researched in 2020 and 2021 through funding from the Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education, and piloted at Posyandu in the provinces of Yogyakarta and Aceh.

Reporting by Indonesia Window

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