Official highlights importance of early brain development


BRAIN development right from conception is crucial to prepare children for life, United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) education officer Cathy Patuvii says.
Patuvii said this during an Early Child hood Development (ECD) media orientation in Port Moresby last Wednesday.
She said a child’s development process began well before birth.
“It is vital to invest earlier rather than later because the development of the brain, which starts in the early years, is the foundation of future learning behaviour and health,” she said.
“Time spent between conception and the second birthday of a child together with the first 1,000 days of life is critical in the development of a child.”
Patuvii said for young children to reach their full development potential, their brain needed to grow and develop optimally.
“When a child receives good healthcare, good nutrition, early learning and protection against violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation, the brain will grow and develop well which will set the child for success,” she said.
ECD is a multi-sectoral approach to policies and programmes related to child protection, education, health nutrition.
It also looks into water sanitation and hygiene for children from conception to eight years of age. The approach aims to enable children to reach their full development potential in life.
Patuvii highlighted that the ECD stimulated healthy brain development in children.
She encouraged parents, especially mothers, and guardians to start with ECD if they want to have successful learners and productive children in the future.
“Getting things right the first time is easier and more effective than trying to fix them later.
“This means providing adequate care for pregnant mothers so they are healthy and able to deliver their babies safely.”
Patuvii called on the Government to assist ECD become sustainable by providing the legislative mandate and resources to deliver high quality and comprehensive services to children and their families.

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