ECDEarly Childhood Development
Pediatricians Promoting Early Childhood Development
Nutrition and health. Protection from harm. Nurturing care and stimulation. These are the ingredients children need for a healthy start to life. The science behind early childhood development (ECD) is clear – a child’s brain is built, not born. The time between pregnancy and age three is the most critical period in shaping their lives during childhood, adolescence, and into adulthood. Unfortunately, 250 million of the world’s children under five are at risk of not reaching their full developmental potential. Almost 1 in 5 experience in stunting from malnutrition early in life. More than 300 million children under five have been exposed to societal violence. These conditions directly impact a child’s development today and their ability to contribute to society in the future.
In partnership with the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Kenya Paediatric Association, and Paediatric Association of Tanzania, the American Academy of Pediatrics seeks to leverage the clinical expertise, patient experience, and expansive networks of pediatricians to ensure national and sub-national health care systems are responsive and inclusive of nurturing care for early childhood development.
Pediatricians & national pediatric societies are uniquely qualified to promote nurturing care for early childhood development in their communities and countries. They reach children and caregivers across the health system.
Valued child health expert
Pediatricians are trusted by the community.
Medical school professor
Pediatricians are training the next generation of child health providers.
Child health provider
Pediatricians often see children in their earliest years (0 to 3).
Civil society leader
Pediatricians, respected by governments and civil societies, can help shape their country’s health system.
Pediatricians manage nurses and other cadres of health providers serving children.
Pediatricians are medical providers and educators providing care to children and supporting caregivers.
Understand the organizational and ECD advocacy capacity of national pediatric societies in Kenya and Tanzania
Participate in an on-line learning platform for ECD skills-building ahead of in-person workshop
Hold advocacy workshop to train ECD champions and identify national and sub-national priorities
Engage with multiple sectors and levels of government to address ECD advocacy priorities
LEARNING AND SUSTAINING
Share learnings across sectors to promote institutionalization.
Components of Nurturing Care
Antenatal & childbirth care | Essential care for newborns | Immunizations | Integrated management of childhood illnesses | Early detection of disabling conditions | Prevention & cessation of tobacco & alcohol use | Limit exposure to secondhand smoke
Support early reading & play | Guidance on low-resource strategies to promote early learning | Monitor cognitive, physical, language, motor, social, & emotional development
Security & Safety
Birth registration | Good hygiene practices | Guidance to reduce exposure to air pollution | Advocate for safe family & play places | Ensure social care services understand ECD
Support breastfeeding | Monitor weight and height | Management of malnutrition | Promote diet diversity
Skin-to-skin & Kangaroo care |
Coach caregivers on play & responsive feeding| Milestone tracking
*Adapted from Nurturing Care for Early Childhood Development: A framework for helping children survive and thrive to transform health and human potential.