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World Health Organization Releases the Improving Early Childhood Development: WHO Guideline

Megan Testen, Fellow at GCE-US, 


The World Health Organization (WHO) has released the Improving Early Childhood Development: WHO Guideline, which provides evidence-informed recommendations on improving Early Childhood Development (ECD). The purpose of the guideline is to identify specific ECD interventions and practical approaches that will improve developmental outcomes for children. The guideline focuses on the needs of both caregivers and young children, and identifies that the foundation for lifelong health, productivity, and well being is built in the early years starting from pregnancy.

The Improving Early Childhood Development: WHO Guideline proposes four specific recommendations which are intended to reach audiences such as policy makers, caregivers, and health workers. Enabling young children to achieve their full developmental potential is a human right, and in order to improve ECD, WHO recommends: 

1. Responsive Caregiving: All infants and children should recieve responsive care during the first 3 years of life; parents and other caregivers should be supported to provide responsive care. 

2. Promote Early Learning: All infants should have early learning activities with their parents and other caregivers during the first 3 years of life; parents and other caregivers should be supported to engage in early learning with their infants and children.

3. Integrate Caregiving and Nutrition Interventions: Support for responsive care and early learning should be included as part of interventions for optimal nutrition of infants and young children. 

4. Support Maternal Mental Health: Psychosocial interventions to support maternal mental health should be integrated into early childhood health and development services. 

Read the full Improving Early Childhood Development: WHO Guideline or summary here

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