UNICEF completes construction of first health and development centre in Aceh
BANDA ACEH, 26 January 2007 – UNICEF has completed construction of the first of the 227 mother-and-child health centres it is building in Indonesia’s tsunami-devastated Aceh province and earthquake-hit Nias Island.
The Tanjung Polindes, a 190 square metre midwifery centre and residence on the edge of the capital Banda Aceh, will be handed over to the provincial government on 26 January.
Three more health centres are under construction, 40 are under tender, and another 80 are under design with sites already identified.
UNICEF has committed to build a total of 227 health centres across Aceh and the North Sumatran island of Nias under its “Posyandu Plus” programme, a cornerstone of its $335 million tsunami recovery effort.
“Posyandu Plus” is designed to restore and upgrade the Indonesian Government’s 30-year old “posyandu” system, under which mobile health teams visited villages once a month to deliver family health services.
The permanent Posyandu-plus centres built by UNICEF combine community midwifery and basic preventive and curative services for women by providing a blend of essential services, such as antenatal and neonatal care, breastfeeding support, growth monitoring, regular immunization, parental education, micronutrient provision, basic health information and behavioural change promotion.
To ensure quality of service, UNICEF in collaboration with Aceh provincial health authorities and partners will roll out an inclusive training programme for healthcare providers. Systems for supervising and monitoring the quality of services will be designed to help maintain and improve the services of the Posyandu-plus centres.
Most health centres will also have an Early Childhood Development Centre offering learning and stimulation activities for pre-school children aged three to six. Fifteen of them will also be equipped with a Child Protection Centre.
“Through these family health and development centres, mothers, children and babies will have immediate and full-time access to professional midwives, specialized infant health care and learning and development activities,” said Edouard Beigbeder, UNICEF’s Chief of Field Office in Aceh.
“This is a brand new facility for the community. It’s not replacing something, it’s giving the community something they didn’t have before. Strengthening community-based health systems will have a long-lasting impact on child survival and development and will help facilitate Aceh and Nias’ recovery, rehabilitation and development.”
The first four health centres to be built are each using a different pilot design and size. The Tanjung Polindes is built with traditional masonry and includes a verandah and midwife’s residence. An alternative building style being tested by UNCEF uses a light steel frame system.
“We’re looking at ways of optimizing design. We’re using different construction techniques in the pilot projects to compare costs and time options,” said Beigbeder.
UNICEF has set aside $11 million for the construction of the health and development centres, in addition to $90 million for the construction of more than 300 permanent schools – the first time UNICEF has taken on a construction role.
For 60 years UNICEF has been the world’s leader for children, working on the ground in 156 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries. UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.
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- Mervyn Fletcher
- UNICEF Communication Officer
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