‘First eight years crucial for child development’

Parents and teachers are key duty holders who could play an important role in early childhood development.

Express August 02, 2011


To increase awareness, strengthening linkages and advocacy regarding the concept of Early Childhood Development (ECD) among the stakeholders, the Sungi Development Foundation, here on Saturday, arranged a district level conference.

Secretary Education K-P Fareed Qureshi, District Coordination Officer Abbottabad Zaheerul Islam, officials of education, health department, representatives of Agha Khan University and civil society organisations working on child issues were among those who attended.

The speakers discussed the effectiveness of ECD practices and future methodologies for achieving set goals.

Zulfiqar Bachani of Aga Khan University gave scientific views of how and why early childhood development is extremely significant.

Discussing this crucial phase, Bachani said that the first eight of life are very important in terms of their mental development and needs extraordinary care.

Project Manager Shazia Naureen shared the achievements and progress of the ECD project, adding that “Releasing Confidence and Creativity - an Early Childhood Development (RCC-ECD)” is aimed at raising awareness on early childhood development, maternal care, capacity building of teachers, and advocacy. She said that Sungi, in cooperation with Aga Khan Foundation has implemented this project in 60 schools in Haripur and Abbottabad for the last 15 months.

K-P Education Secretary Farid Qureshi praised Sungi and Aga Khan Foundation and asked them to work to expand the outreach of the project to more areas of the province so that the communities in those areas could also benefit and achieve better results. He said parents and teachers were key duty holders who could play an important role in early childhood development. He emphasised on legislation and more work on health and education in the province.

Children from Gali Banian Girl’s Primary School also presented a role play on early childhood development and received applause from the participants. Seven teachers were also given prize for their performance in the ECD.

Improving child health

The theme of World Breastfeeding Week 2011 is “Talk to Me! Breastfeeding – A 3D Experience.” The “3D” refers to the many dimensions of our lives and the centrality of communication to our personal experiences. During the week, the United Nations Children’s Fund is “calling for the benefits of breastfeeding to be broadcast beyond clinics and delivery rooms to the public at large.”

After the devolution of Ministry of Health hopes lie with the provincial governments’ need to adopt protection of breastfeeding laws and form the Infant Feeding Boards apace, for the stricter and strengthened enforcement mechanism, Nadeem Iqbal, Executive Coordinator The Network for Consumer Protection said.

According to Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey, the situation is dismissal as the exclusive breastfeeding is low as 37 per cent while bottle feeding is 27 per cent which contributes to higher infant mortality rate. NEWS DESK

Published in The Express Tribune, August 2nd, 2011.