The demographic bonus is an important capital for Indonesia to become a developed country in 2045. However, the threat of climate change, as well as geopolitical problems, need attention so that the dream of becoming a developed country can be realized.
This August, we are once again commemorating the independence of our country proclaimed by Soekarno and Mohammad Hatta in 1945. What have we achieved at the age of 78?
A number of data can be disclosed, both those that have been achieved and those that have not yet been achieved. Usually, in points that have failed or not succeeded yet, we will justify it by saying, "we will make it a lesson". However, there is something no less important than evaluating what has happened, which is what we intend to target when we reach the age of 100 later?
Optimistic narratives always appear in various discussions towards Golden Indonesia 2045, one of which is thanks to the demographic bonus. The demographic bonus period is important, based on the assumption that countries that are in the demographic bonus have an abundant population of productive age, and are often considered to have the momentum to achieve high economic growth.
The demographic bonus is an important capital for Indonesia to become a developed country in 2045. There is a strong determination from all components of the nation to make Indonesia a developed country when it reaches one century, popular with the tagline ”Indonesia's Golden Vision 2045”. Based on the experiences of other countries, not many developing countries have succeeded in becoming developed countries when they have enjoyed independence for more than a century.
Several countries in Latin America are still categorized as middle-income. Only Brazil and Mexico have slightly better economic achievements compared to other Latin American countries.
In the Asian region, we can see South Korea, whose age of independence is only two days older than Indonesia. As fellow former colonies of Japan, South Korea has developed rapidly, far surpassing us. In fact, South Korea is now pursuing progress like Japan.
Several products from South Korea, including automotive, electronic products, and cultural products (K-pop), are expected to inspire the new generation in the homeland to become a quality generation full of optimism in the future golden years.
The road we take towards 2045 may not always be smooth. However, in facing these challenges, we can remember an old saying: endure hardships first, enjoy later.
Rise from a pandemic situation
We have just come out of the Covid-19 pandemic which has devastated all aspects of life for three years and claimed tens of millions of lives. In Indonesia, there are around 160,000 people who have died.
We make this post-pandemic era a stepping stone to move forward, work harder for the progress of the nation. Don't waste time preparing a new generation ahead of Indonesia's Golden Year (2045).
All professions have a strategic role in sustainable development, including preparing mitigation measures in case there is another pandemic in the future.
During the pandemic period, it is only natural that doctors and health workers have more roles and responsibilities compared to other professions. In other situations and conditions, each profession will definitely have its own roles and responsibilities as well, the essence of which is according to its competence.
The just-ended Covid-19 pandemic has become the best medium to measure the strength and solidarity of our civilized nation based on Pancasila and the 1945 Constitution. The spirit of heroism of healthcare workers, including volunteers, has contributed to bringing this nation through very critical days. Our humanity resilience belt comes from the ability to maintain such solidarity and mutual assistance values.
Without diminishing the respect for other professions, the contribution of doctors and nurses in the pandemic era reminds us of the role of doctors in the pre-independence era. Figures like Dr. Soetomo, Radjiman, and Tjipto Mangunkusumo were important figures who helped sow the ideas of independence, which were finally achieved in 1945.
During the early days of independence, a number of doctors from the next generation emerged, who were directly involved in the armed revolution turmoil, such as the figures of doctors Moewardi, J Leimena, Soekiman, Soeharso, and Moestopo.
The exemplary ethic to be emulated from these doctors is that the aspiration for independence and commitment to health for the people are like two sides of the same coin, always moving in tandem and with a focused approach.
Figures like Dr. Radjiman or Tjipto, for example, were ready to directly help the community during outbreaks of diseases such as plague, smallpox, and cholera in the early 20th century. By directly engaging with the community, doctors could witness firsthand the social inequality, poverty, and poor quality of healthcare among the people under colonial rule.
In the post-pandemic era of Covid-19, we hope to enter a more productive phase. One of our hopes is the return to face-to-face educational activities after being confined to online methods for three years. Let us not waste time in preparing the new generation to welcome Indonesia 2045.
In the post-pandemic era, we will continue to consume nutritious and healthy foods, such as those high in fiber, vegetables, and fruit. We also remain aware of the importance of immunization to prevent disease. We will also increase our concern for the health of mothers and children, especially in terms of nutrition intake, in order to prepare a quality new generation to welcome 2045.
Especially for the now generation, it needs to be continuously encouraged in pursuing quality education with an insight into the 21st century so that they are able to compete with the educated classes of other countries.
Efforts to improve the quality of human resources are closely related to health from the age of 5 years and below. Toddlers are very vulnerable to infectious diseases, making vaccination programs an important mitigation policy. Even so, there are still some people who ignore this, even refuse vaccination.
We also have to put more effort into the health of mothers and children, especially in terms of nutritional intake so that we can avoid stunting.
Adequate and balanced nutrition is the fuel to produce excellent and high-quality generations. Nutrients, such as carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, as well as vitamins and minerals, are important for providing energy and building body tissues, especially the brain. The lack of these nutrients will make it difficult to produce quality generations.
Food security and nutritional adequacy
Climate change poses a serious threat to global food security and nutritional adequacy. According to a report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) at the end of last year, environmental disasters resulting from climate change are expected to come sooner than previously estimated. Therefore, there is a need for anticipation to safeguard the future of our younger generation.
Extreme weather, such as abnormal heat and cold, as a negative impact of climate change, will also affect children's health.
Children's vulnerability to the impacts of climate change is greater than adults. According to the General Chairperson of the Indonesian Pediatrician Association (IDAI) Piprim Basarah Yanuarso, the impact of climate change, in this case hot weather, is very dangerous and greatly disrupts children's outdoor activities (Kompas, 3/5/ 2023).
The climate disaster in a more concrete form is global warming. For every increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius, the IPCC predicts a 70-90 percent extinction of coral reef species. This condition will impact approximately 500 million people whose food sources rely on marine biodiversity, including the population of Indonesia.
This means that future generations are feared to face a nutritional crisis, especially protein sourced from marine biota. Compared to the period 1850-1900, the average temperature of the earth's surface is currently 0.87 degrees Celsius higher. This shows that global warming is a real, tangible, measurable phenomenon, and therefore predictable and preventable.
Observing the predictions related to the threats to food security and nutritional adequacy, now is the appropriate time to take better care of the environment by reducing excessive exploitation, regulating the mining sector to be more environmentally friendly, and managing agricultural plantations more productively without damaging the ecosystem.
Maintaining biodiversity and local food is one way to ensure our food resilience, so that future generations are guaranteed access to sufficient and high-quality nutritional intake. Literacy about adequate and nutritious food quality needs to be seriously improved.
Referring to survey results, people are now used to and really like to eat fast food with minimal nutrition, such as fried foods, instant noodles, burgers and frozen food (Kompas, 24/4/2022). You can imagine the consequences.
Our society still has low awareness of the long-term danger of consuming low-nutrient foods. There needs to be affirmative action from the government to encourage the community to consume more vegetables and fruits, high-fiber, high-vitamin, and essential mineral-containing foods such as calcium, iron, iodine, and potassium. Low consumption of fruits and vegetables nationally could threaten the achievement of the target for a high-quality generation towards Indonesia Emas 2045.
As the largest archipelago country in the world, Indonesia is a mega-biodiversity in terms of food sources, both on land and in its waters. Referring to data from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Indonesia has at least 100 types of carbohydrates, 100 types of nuts, 450 types of fruits, as well as 250 types of vegetables and mushrooms. In addition to this list, there are still various wild foods that have not been identified.
One of the biodiversity is sago, which for centuries has been a source of food for local communities that support nutritional adequacy. Sago flour products are traditionally found from Aceh to Papua.
Nationally, the blessing of biodiversity and richness of local food cultures are increasingly displaced by uniform food policies. One prominent example is the standardization of various local carbohydrates into rice, as well as imported wheat flour. According to the FAO, Indonesia is the world's largest importer of wheat and still in transition towards rice self-sufficiency.
With the threat of climate change, as well as geopolitical problems when wheat supplies from Ukraine become delayed, we can use this current situation as a momentum to strengthen local food sources. If we can maintain sufficient food with complete nutrition and nutrients, future generations will be healthier and stronger.
Professor of Medicine at Airlangga University
Chair of the MUI East Java Provincial Health Board