Role of Dasa Wisma (Housewives Group) In Solving the Urban Health and Nutrition Problem in Indonesia

This paper evaluates how participation and social mobilization of housewives group (DasaWisma) has improved urban health problem and malnutrition in Indonesia. Occurrence of public health problem such as dengue haemorraghic fever and children malnutrition in urban area is relatively high in Indonesia. This phenomenon has encouraged people to adopt different approaches for its prevention ranging from a vertical, government-controlled program to a more horizontal, community-based program. Dasa Wisma is social community group consisting of housewives from10-20 families. This group plays an important role in the implementation of family empowerment and welfare program at household level in Indonesia. Some of itsactivities are: (1) collecting data of malnourished children in the neighborhood area; (2) counseling about family health and nutrition as well as household sanitation; (3) participating in epidemic and poverty reduction program; and (4) managing POSYANDU (Center of Family Health Care). In POSYANDU, Dasa Wisma helps in children weighing, health counseling and distribution of nutritious food for children. Dasa Wisma also helps in the socialization of government health program through its regular monthly meeting and provides health such as the number of pregnant women, children under 5 year old, mortality of mother after birth, etc. Data of malnourished children are used as reference by government to undertake a follow up action to treat them in Puskesmas (Community Health Center). In some cases, data collected by Dasa Wisma are more accurate and actual than data collected by government institutions because the members are familiar with their own condition. Dasa Wisma has been successful in dengue prevention and control program. It showed that Dasa Wisma has tremendous role in urban health improvement and reduction of malnutrition. It may also serves as a community learning center that organises informal education and training; community information and resource services; community development activities, and coordination and networking. Therefore, it is necessary to further promote civil society participation and community empowerment especially the health and nutrition.

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