The Problem

  • Micronutrient deficiencies including, iron and folate, iodine, and vitamin A are highly prevalent in Indonesia.
  • In Indonesia, there are an estimated 1.5 million children with disabilities, yet fewer than four percent have access to any educational services.
  • There is a need for rehabilitation and education programs for children with visual impairments in Indonesia.
  • Indonesia has the fourth-largest number of diabetics in the world and a significant number of people suffering from blinding ocular complications of diabetes, known as diabetic retinopathy.

What HKI Is Doing

Helen Keller International has had an active presence in Indonesia since the early 1970s, providing technical assistance to the Government of Indonesia’s (GOI) vitamin A program that began with an evaluation in 1973. HKI-Indonesia has since continued to work in close collaboration with the GOI in the areas of nutrition, inclusive education and eye health.  Its activities include:

Vitamin A Deficiency Control
HKI’s work in Indonesia has produced a significant body of scientific knowledge on vitamin A. This includes the landmark research in the 1970s, establishing the link between vitamin A deficiency and childhood morbidity and mortality, as well as more recent work on the lesser bioavailability of vitamin A from vegetables and fruits as compared to animal products. HKI's vitamin A supplementation program currently reaches 70% of children aged 12-59 months in Indonesia's most densely populated provinces.

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Inclusive Education: Opportunities for Vulnerable Children (OVC)
In 2003, HKI's Opportunities for Vulnerable Children (OVC) program was developed to help increase the Government of Indonesia's capacity to serve children with visual impairments and other special needs. The program increases access to education for special needs children, and motivates policy makers to place a higher priority on students with special needs. The program helps community leaders identify visually-impaired children who are not in school, designs and implements teacher training, helps develop academic curricula, and provides facility enhancements to schools.

  • HKI provides training and technical assistance to more than 2,000 teachers, school headmasters and families in Indonesia to build their capacity to address the specific needs of vulnerable children.
  • HKI improves public awareness for inclusive education and Education for All with educators and the general public.
  • The OVC program currently works in 6 provinces: DKI Jakarta, Central Java, East Java, West Java, Aceh and South Sulawesi.

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Primary Eye Care

  • Helen Keller International's Refractive Error (ChildSight®) program goes into schools to provide free vision screenings, refraction and eyeglasses to poor, urban students in Jakarta and East Java. Students who have more severe eye problems are referred for further testing and follow-up.
  • The ChildSight® program provides training on early detection of visual problems to teachers, parents and health workers, and raises community awareness about the importance of good vision.
  • HKI's Pediatric Ophthalmology program strengthens the access of eye health services to children in East Java by establishing a referral system for pediatric patients from schools and communities, as well as improving the capacity of eye health professionals to provide high quality secondary and tertiary pediatric ophthalmic care.

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Diabetic Retinopathy

  • Helen Keller International's Diabetic Retinopathy program improves access and long-term compliance with eye health care for diabetic patients. We promote early detection and treatment and ensure patient retention and follow-up within the health care system.
  • The program also increases demand for services and knowledge about the disease and its consequences among doctors, patients and related associations.

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Emergency Relief
HKI assists the Government of Indonesia with nutrition interventions in emergency conditions to help protect the health and nutritional status of at-risk populations.

Following the 2004 tsunami, HKI:

  • Conducted a Rapid Emergency Assessment and Prioritization (REAP) analysis to help coordinate relief efforts.
  • Working with H. J Heinz & Co. Inc., helped ensure the distribution of free, short-term supplies of Vitalita sachets in affected areas to the parents or caretakers of 200,000 children. Vitalita, which comes in single-dose sachets, is a powdered mix of vitamins and minerals that can be added by family members to meals prepared in the home on a daily basis. A number of studies around the world have shown that these point-of-use fortificants effectively reduce anemia in children and women.
  • Helped distribute vitamin A and dispersible zinc tablets to children under five in Aceh and North Sumatra.

After the 2005 Yogyakarta and Central Java earthquake, HKI:

  • Helped distribute Vitalita sachets to children and families in the affected areas, in partnership with UNICEF, providing 130,000 children each with 30 sachets; 16,000 households also received 20 packets of iron-fortified soy sauce.

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