July ISSOP e-bulletin (2) Early Child Development

1 August, 2018

Thank you Tony, Raul, Gonca and all at ISSOP for another excellene newsletter. https://www.issop.org/cmdownloads/issop-e-bulletin-34-july-18/

I would like to highlight the article by Gonca Yilmaz on Early Intervention. Building on the success of CHIFA Newborn Care Project, CHIFA is currently looking at the possibility of starting a 2nd project on Early Child Development (ECD). This would look in particular at the information and learning needs of families, health workers and policymakers to help ensure that young children have access to the best possible care.

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Early Intervention

Why is early identification of developmental delay important? The value of early identification of children with developmental delays has been well documented. If developmental delays are detected too late, opportunities for early intervention may be lost. Even experienced clinicians have difficulty in the identification of children with mild developmental delays, these children are the most amenable to early intervention. And sometimes paediatricians or family practitioners frequently postpone referring eligible children and their families for early intervention services, should they be available.

If we look at the literature, we can see that 12 to 15% of children have at least one developmental delay. But if we think about some risk factors especially common in low income settings, such as malnutrition, iron deficiency or lack of proper stimulation for development and poverty; these frequencies may increase. In my previous work place, I was seeing children from low socio-economical level and these families sometimes did not recognise that their children had a developmental delay. In these circumstances, awareness about developmental delays would be very important for us.

In August, a thematic moderated discussion about early identification of developmental delays will begin on CHIFA, our social pediatrics discussion platform. We will ask CHIFA members about their developmental delay management and identification tools. We would like to know what we need when implementing developmental monitoring in low resource settings, in low income countries. Most low or middle income countries have policies that include children with developmental disabilities but often disability is ‘not a priority’ for programs. There is lack of technical expertise, especially in rural and low resources areas. Data and statistics may not be available and also services may not be inadequate or absent. The focus tends to be on physical disabilities and rarely on other kinds of disabilities. And on the top of all of these, myths and supertitions related to developmental disabilities can exist in rural settings. Stigma and negative attitudes towards developmentally delayed children may also be a problem. We would like to find answers to all these issues.

Here, I would like to also mention the importance of internationally standardized screening or surveillance tools for developmental delay identification.

Which tests are we using? What is their validity? Are these test developed according to the risk factors I mentioned above? Thank you

Gonca Yilmaz MD,PhD,

Developmental Pediatrician.

Turkey

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Best wishes, Neil

Let's build a future where children are no longer dying for lack of healthcare information - Join CHIFA (Child Healthcare Information For All): http://www.hifa.org/forums/chifa-child-health-and-rights

CHIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is the coordinator of the HIFA campaign (Healthcare Information For All) and assistant moderator of the CHIFA forum. He is current chair of the Dgroups Foundation (www.dgroups.info), which supports 700 communities of practice for international development, social justice and global health. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org