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Indian Academy of Pediatrics Adaption of Nurturing Care for Early Child Development (IAP-Nurture-ECD)

The first three years of a child’s life are fundamentally important. They are the foundational years wherein maximum brain growth occurs, child-parent attachments are formed, and pre-academic learning starts.

Unfortunately, around 250 million (43%) children under 5 years from low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) were not reaching their expected development potential as per a 2017 Lancet report1. This is because adverse factors such as poverty and stunting significantly outweigh protective ones like educated parents and stimulatory home environments. This imbalance negatively affects brain growth, physical health, and psychological development in young children resulting in faltering or a downward deviation of the developmental trajectory.
In early 2021, Johnson & Johnson partnered with the Indian Academy of Pediatrics to support a program on ‘Nurturing care for ECD (NC-ECD)’ with the goal of improving outcomes related to holistic child health, growth and development, with an emphasis on early childhood (0 – 3 years).

The objectives of the project are:

· Capacity building of pediatricians to effectively sensitize and impart knowledge and skills to parents/caregivers

· To popularize the concept of well-child visits at specific ages in which checklists can be administered to identify gaps in parental practice related to NC & ECD

· To help parents develop/enhance their caregiver skills for providing NC

NC-ECD is a holistic approach that provides a framework to not only survive and thrive, but also to go to the next phase, i.e. to transform health and human potential2. This comprises components that are evidence-based and proven to be effective in LMIC: good health, optimal nutrition, opportunities for early learning, responsive parenting, safety, and security. It is believed that the provision of nurturing care can enhance child development even in the presence of adversities.

As part of this project, nationwide training workshops will be conducted to help pediatricians enhance their skills in communication, build professional relationships with parents, counselling, and planning activities with them that will promote NC & ECD in their children in less than three years.

References:
1. Black MM, Walker SP, Fernald LCH, et al. Early childhood development coming of age: Science through the life course. Lancet 2017; 389: 77-90.
2. Britto PR, Lye SJ, Proulx KP, et al. Nurturing care: Promoting early childhood development. Lancet 2017; 389: 91-102.

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