Prioritizing nurturing care for children

Constance Ndeleko

On the grand opening of the First AfECN International conference on Early Childhood Development on Tuesday we converged at the Safari Park where we shared and exchanged knowledge on different aspects of how we can better the ECD sector for children to reach their full potential in a holistic manner.

Investing in early childhood development is one of the best investments a country can make to boost economic growth, promote peaceful and sustainable societies, and eliminate extreme poverty and inequality. Equally important, investing in early childhood development is necessary to uphold the right of every child to survive and thrive.

Why a nurturing care framework ?It builds upon state-of-the art evidence of how child development unfolds and of the effective policies and interventions that can improve early childhood development. It also  describes how a whole-of-government and a whole-of-society approach can promote and strengthen the Nurturing Care of young children, what the guiding principles for doing so are, and what strategic actions are needed.

There is need for everyone to take action in nurturing care as good health, nutrition, safety, security and responsive care given in early learning is what a child’s brain expects and needs to be developed.

When we come to Nurturing care we talk of the whole state of  a child’s well-being.About 53 million children in the world suffer in disability or are able differently and particularly in the African region the numbers tend to be much higher and most countries are now putting much effort to prevent disability as much.

We can only fight disability if we join forces to understand it by trying to prevent its occurrences and providing support,services for these children and families through massive injection and building up on their needs. Disability is not inability and all children deserve protection of their Rights.

As long as we invest in Early Childhood Education then the government and the world at large will be able to make many more on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) especially by reducing by half on children living in poverty,end high hunger levels and ensuring access by all people to a safe nutrition including pregnant women and even in the early days of a child’s birth.

If we can only ensure that boys and girls have access to quality ECD care,primary education and secondary education,end of abuse, exploitation,trafficking and all forms of violence and torture then we will in a better place to say that we are in the right lane of their growth and development.

It is possible to provide the right nurturing care framework for our children if we can end preventable deaths,expand enabling environment and ensuring health and well-being and shape the child’s full potential.

At least 250 million children, or 43% in LMICs, are at risk of sub-optimal development
due to poverty and stunting alone,29 of 35 (83%) countries with more than 60%
of children at risk are in Africa.

The first 1000 days, starting from conception,are a period of special sensitivity for child
development. Early investment has a lifelong and inter-generational benefits and multi-sectoral collaboration is essential and the health sector has a special role to play.

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