The decline in socioeconomic state due to the COVID-19 pandemic has presented more challenges for the government to respond to the crisis. These challenges need to be addressed appropriately to ensure that they are pro-poor and equitable.
During the first semester of 2020 , the government introduced various schemes to address the emerging issues. Nevertheless, these initiatives need to be critically reviewed so that the government are well-informed and receiving valuable inputs on the effectiveness of their programs to improve future programs.
SMERU, experienced in researching socioeconomic issues during the 1998 Asian Financial Crisis and 2008/2009 Global Financial Crisis, has offered to conduct studies related to the socioeconomic aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic in three areas: economics, social, and mother and child health. These studies, if informed accurately to the government, will benefit future pro-poor and inclusive policy-making processes.
SMERU then identifies key stakeholders at the national level, varying according to the specific studies undertaken. Furthermore, SMERU will also work closely with regional governments. Through Knowledge Sector Initiative’s previous funding and other arrangements, SMERU has been able to forge strong relationships with seven provincial governments that have worked with SMERU in the past. This long-standing engagement will benefit this initiative. The seven provinces are DKI Jakarta, West Java, East Java, South Sulawesi, Bali, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), and East Nusa Tenggara (NTT).
To understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on nutrition and mother and child health services
We will collect data and carry out policy engagement activities from September 2020 to June 2021. We will employ secondary data collection and analysis and in-depth interviews with the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Finance, Bappenas, and provincial governments. The result of this study will be valuable for anticipating the potential decline in maternal and child health services during the COVID-19 pandemic and helping develop measures needed to mitigate and minimize the negative impacts during the pandemic and measures for the recovery period.