RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C.—Aceh Singkil, one of the RTI International-led Kinerja program's partner districts in Indonesia, has been selected as the second place winner of the prestigious 2015 United Nations Public Service Award for its actions to reduce maternal and infant mortality through improved public service delivery.
Kinerja, a program funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by RTI, uses accountability and performance-based incentives to improve health, education, and business service delivery by Indonesia's local governments. This is the first time an Indonesian local government has won this prestigious award.
"We are proud that our work in Aceh Singkil helped women receive better health care when delivering their babies, ultimately saving lives," said Elke Rapp, RTI Chief of Party for Kinerja. "This award is a testament to the commitment of USAID, the Kinerja program staff, our local partners and the Indonesian government and people to improve health services in the country."
The award recognizes the success of the program's initiative "Fostering Partnerships between Traditional Birth Attendants and Midwives to Reduce Maternal and Infant Mortality." Prior to this intervention, many births in Aceh Singkil took place without the assistance of medically-trained midwives equipped to handle complications that threaten the health of mothers and their babies.
Kinerja helped build partnerships between community health centers, traditional birth attendants and midwives that resulted in more women choosing to give birth in health facilities with the assistance of both traditional attendants and trained personnel. The intervention is currently being replicated in 29 villages as part of a plan to roll it out across the entire district.
Now in its fifth year of implementation, Kinerja—which means "performance" in Bahasa Indonesia—has reached more than 60 districts, 350 schools, and 200 health clinics through its wide range of activities. Recently, the program held a mass business licensing event that resulted in the successful distribution of more than 40,000 business permits.
Responding to the award, District Health Office Head Edy Widodo expressed his thanks to all those who had made the intervention such a success: "The people of Aceh Singkil are very grateful to have received this award. This public service innovation has helped to improve the quality of health-care services in the district, and we are very proud of all our traditional birth attendants, midwives and community health center staff. We also wholeheartedly give our thanks to USAID-Kinerja for its support."
Further information on the Kinerja program may be found on the program's website, www.kinerja.or.id.