This profile was prepared when Anna Alisjahbana was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2009.
The New Idea
Anna’s comprehensive approach to child development expands the roles and deepens the skills of professionals and families to extend health and education services, improve parenting, and ensure fuller, healthier lives for Indonesia's citizens. Her approach includes monitoring during pregnancy that continues through delivery and infancy, bringing together parents, health cadres, traditional birth attendants (TBAs), and village midwives. Her parenting messages help mothers and those interacting with children to craft more stimulating home environments. In 1984, Anna founded the Surya Kanti Foundation: Center for Development of Child Potential (PUSPPA: Pusat Pengembangan Potensi Anak) as a model for early detection and early treatment of child developmental disorders that provides promotive, preventive, curative and habilitative care for children up to five years in age. She focuses on those with special needs, helping kids develop into productive and confident individuals. The Surya Kanti team consists of medical professionals, psychologist, therapists, pedagogue and social workers from a wide range of disciplines, including pediatrics, neurology ophthalmology, rehabilitation ,and ENT specialist. Parents/caretakers are involved as partners in the identification and treatment management of children with developmental delays and disorders. Another of Anna’s innovations is the adjustment of the concept of Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD for Indonesia- Asuhan Dini Tumbuh Kembang Anak (ADITUKA)), building the early detection and treatment effort into a more comprehensive “women and early childhood care” movement. Again, this adopts a holistic approach that views children as complete and complex individuals with unique talents and weaknesses. Early learning, early detection and intervention are addressed from pregnancy, delivery, and through the six year of child’s life, with parents and the community integrally involved in the process. Anna’s comprehensive approach has become common practice in both rural and urban areas in Indonesia, enabling parents, village health cadres, midwives, and pediatricians to monitor early childhood development more closely. Indonesia's Education Ministry, with a loan from the World Bank, then implemented the national adoption of Anna’s model for child development monitoring to spread throughout the country. UNICEF has implemented her model in 17 provinces, while large international COs like Save the Children and Plan International have replicated it in different provinces as well.