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Indonesia: Kapi, Susu and Babies

I made a quick trip to Indonesia to help our team come up with a campaign plan to save babies from dying of easily preventable diseases.

Like other countries in the world, the problem is most acute in the hardest-to-reach areas. In Indonesia, this means reaching babies living on all the different islands.

I googled the question: “How many islands are there in Indonesia?” and came up with a variety of numbers: 18,306, 17,508 and 13,000. Lets just say: there are lots!!

And recently, they are being administered more locally than centrally. So, getting everyone in these different locations to understand how to arrest child mortality and improve health for young mothers and babies is a huge challenge.

I was very amused to hear someone ask me if I wanted some “susu” in my Kapi (coffee), whilst in Jakarta.

Susu means “milk” in Bahasa, one of about 300 local languages in indonesia, but it means “urine” in Hindi, my mother-tongue.

Naturally, I was very vigorous about saying no. Which turned out to be the right answer, since I do like my coffee black. It was great coffee.

Indonesia is one of the greatest coffee producers in the world, so one idea we had was to ask coffee producing companies to support our child survival work.

That way we can have more “susu babies” in indonesia, i.e., not babies who’ve wet their nappies, but babies whose parents know it’s right to breastfeed them – and exclusively – for six months.

Imagine, also, if we could ask those companies to help people around the world who enjoy drinking good coffee – at airports, cafes or even in their own kitchens – to think about babies in Indonesia who need their help!

Our team can’t wait to get started. They are making priorities. Like: starting off in the Western islands because these are poorer than the rest.

The poorest children are most likely to be impacted by under-nutrition and disease, and they have the least access to quality healthcare. 

Overall, our strategy is to influence EVERYONE who can make a difference in the country – including coffee growing companies – and to increase the momentum with which we try to tackle the issue.

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