CIPRE Forum: Advancing the Agenda: Using Research to Integrate Health and Early Childhood Practice Worldwide
Globally, we have seen incredible improvements in child health and development. Survival for infants and children under age 5 has improved in 18 out of 20 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, vaccination rates are rising, and more than four-fifths of the world’s population can now read and write. Yet despite the growth in primary school access and attendance, many children do not recognize letters or numbers by 2nd grade and cannot read a simple passage by 5th grade. Accordingly, many stakeholders are now looking for ways to translate the improvements in child survival into increased learning and productivity in society.
To ensure that children are not only physically healthy but are also prepared to learn, governments and others are turning to early childhood development (ECD) programs. Although there is near-universal agreement on the value of ECD, it is unclear how best to integrate health and child development programming to achieve better outcomes for children. Fortunately, many countries have health systems that could serve as a platform for delivering integrated health, nutrition, and ECD services.
A noted panel of experts discussed the evidence for weaving ECD into child survival and health programs, with a focus on identifying strategies and promising innovations that can be adapted and replicated.
Anu Rangarajan, CIPRE’s director, opened the forum, and Kimberly Boller, a senior fellow at Mathematica, moderated an expert panel discussion that included the webinar and in-person audiences.
The expert panel included:
- Harold Alderman, International Food Policy Research Institute
- Emiliana Vegas, Inter-American Development Bank
- Mandana Arabi, The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science