MANILA, PHILIPPINES - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a US$400 million financial assistance package for Indonesia that will make education and health services more readily available for the country’s poorest families.
ADB’s assistance package supports Indonesia’s ongoing efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and targets on poverty reduction, health, education and gender equity. The program supports these efforts by facilitating the expansion of public sector health and education expenditures and assisting the Government in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of this additional expenditure.
To date, Indonesia’s progress toward meeting MDG benchmarks has been mixed. While the country remains on track to meet MDG targets on primary school enrolment, many children are not making the transition to junior secondary education.
In the health sector, although progress has been made decreasing maternal mortality rates, these rates are still significantly higher than those seen in many neighboring Southeast Asian nations. HIV/AIDS rates remain low, but are on the rise.
Despite the overall progress Indonesia is making in many areas, significant disparities still exist between the country’s most affluent and poorest families on a number of MDG targets, such as infant mortality rates and between regions.
“The primary beneficiaries of ADB’s support will be women and children from poor households who currently lack sufficient access to quality education and health services,” said Alfredo Perdiguero, a senior economist in ADB’s Southeast Asia Department.
“Indonesia’s expansion of social services for the poor will help more children survive their earliest years of life, save more people from HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, help more women remain healthy during pregnancy, help more children go to school, and reduce regional and socioeconomic differences in social service delivery.”
ADB’s financial assistance package conforms with Indonesia’s medium-term development plan, and will help the government implement ongoing reforms that are needed to improve the quality and effectiveness of the country’s social services.
The eight Millennium Development Goals, which were established in 2001, serve as a blueprint for the world’s nations and the leading global development institutions in alleviating poverty and improving lives. The goals range from halving extreme poverty to reducing child mortality, halting the spread of HIV/AIDS, providing universal primary education and providing access to clean drinking water and sanitation facilities by the target date of 2015.