The remarkable progress in reducing child mortality in low-income countries is now accompanied with a rapidly expanding population of child survivors and increased life expectancy. However, many have special health care needs in the early foundational years for optimal health and educational and vocational status. Investment in early childhood development (ECD) is therefore crucial but likely to be constrained by lack of adequate resources making priority-setting inevitable. A review of current ECD approaches in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia shows that concerted multidisciplinary and cross-sectoral initiatives targeted at children with developmental disabilities across all crucial domains of ECD and guided by available evidence on optimal timing for interventions are urgently required. This focus would necessitate appropriate national ECD policies, modifications to the current global ECD programs in the developing world, and a more active collaboration between pediatricians and other related service providers.
From the Maternal and Child Health Unit, Department of Community Health and Primary Care, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Idiaraba, Surulere, Lagos, Nigeria.
Received January 2011; accepted March 2011.
Address for reprints: Bolajoko O. Olusanya, MBBS, FRCPCH, PhD, Maternal and Child Health Unit, Department of Community Health and Primary Care, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Idiaraba, Surulere, Lagos, Nigeria; e-mail: email@example.com.