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ICC participated the Conference on Supporting Families for Young Child Wellbeing:
ICC  participated the Conference on Supporting Families for Young Child Wellbeing:
The Role of Community Nursing, Home Visiting, and Outreach Services organized by UNICEF Regional Office for Central & Eastern Europe, Commonwealth of Independent States

The early childhood years are considered the most important developmental phase with lifelong impact on health, development, well-being, and productivity.  Social determinants, such as poverty, access to services, living location, maternal education, and nutrition, contribute to the fact that many children never reach their full potential. Increasing access to quality child health, development and protection services at the household, community and facility level can serve an important “equalizing function” for vulnerable groups and improve health and well-being across the life-span.  However, infants and young children are inherently vulnerable: they cannot advocate for themselves and lack the ability for self-protection.  Therefore, reaching marginalized children and their families constitutes a major focus of  work globally. 

UNICEF and WHO (2009) are promoting the role of home visiting to provide critical support and capacity building to families and link them with health and social services in the community to increase the survival of infants during their first months of life.  However, the impact of home-based support goes much beyond infant survival:  An extensive international evidence-base has demonstrated that home visiting programmes can play an important role, supporting improvements in physical and mental health, school performance and economic productivity, particularly in vulnerable populations into adult years.  Home visiting systems thus can counteract inequities, i.e., the systematic “differences in health [and well-being] that are not only unnecessary and avoidable but, in addition, are considered unfair and unjust”  and contribute to a healthier and more productive next generation.

Octavian Bivol ,Regional Advisor, Health Systems and Policy    stated that, most countries in the CEECIS region benefitted from strong safety nets for all children and families, accompanied by a dominant role of the state in raising the next generation. 

Political change, reform efforts, and the economic crisis have fundamentally affected and often reduced these services. In addition, the role of community nursing and community outreach systems has received limited attention within the broader national health reforms. For vulnerable and socially excluded groups, this has increased existing inequities and contributed to poor child outcomes.  In response/simultaneously, countries have been developing new approaches, such as programmes to strengthen parenting skills, new support services for children with special needs, and programmes to improve child and population nutrition.

Deepa Grover Regional Advisor, Early Childhood Development mentioned the purpose of this gathering is to take stock of the multiple changes and reform efforts in the CEECIS region; learn about what works from the international and regional evidence base: and develop next steps to support and guide the direction of family-support systems to ensure better health, optimal development, protection and overall well-being of the next generation. 

Key note speaker Dr. Giorgio Tamburlini Director of the European School for Maternal Newborn Child and Adolescent health in Trieste, presented “ECD, the most important equalizer: supporting child well-being at the household level” and  answered the question: Why invest in early childhood nutrition and development, during his presentation. He also mentioned that Early Childhood Development is a powerful equalizer and a more comprehensive approach to early life is needed, building on existing child survival programmes and extending interventions in early life to include social/emotional and language/cognitive development.” 

In addition, the conference is served as a mediator to build the foundation for a community of practice to improve family support systems through intra- and inter-regional exchange and sharing of best practices and tools.

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