The Jakarta Post
The increasing number of diarrhea cases, blamed on poor sanitation, has stirred the government to conduct integrated efforts to improve sanitation in Indonesia.
State Minister for Development Planning Paskah Suzetta said diarrhea was generally caused by low quality drinking water and poor sanitation systems.
"The high number of children suffering from diarrhea and malaria each year shows the handling of sanitation is still facility focused, as opposed to management system focused," Paskah said Monday at the opening of a national conference to accelerate sanitation development.
In addition, he said, the lack of public awareness about a healthy environment, the absence of a comprehensive cross-sector policy on basic sanitation facilities and the provision of inappropriate technology had hampered the improvement of the country's sanitation systems.
"To manage these problems, the government should cooperate with the private sector to create, build and facilitate cheap and proper sanitation systems," Paskah said.
He said funding was one of the most important considerations in improving the country's sanitation system.
"The opening of funding sources, either from domestic financial agencies or bilateral and multilateral cooperation ... for the development of sanitation facilities, will encourage local administrations to employ the mutual endowment method of cooperation, and can be expected to improve sanitation services."
The government estimates mover than 80 percent of Indonesia's underground water in urban areas has been contaminated with Escherichia coli bacteria due to poor sanitation systems, causing 50 in every 1,000 children under five years old to die from complications related to diarrhea.
Public Works Minister Djoko Kirmanto said the key to managing underground water was to have good waste management based on community involvement.
"Some areas already have final dumping sites but they lack operational sources. We will give them both technical assistance and equipment," he said. (JP/ndr)