Gov­ern­ment to launch early child­hood project to aid chil­dren with dis­abil­i­ties

The Myanmar Times - - News - HTIKE NANDA WIN htike­nan­dawin@mm­times.com

THE So­cial Wel­fare Depart­ment will launch the Early Child­hood In­ter­ven­tion (ECI) pi­lot projects in three re­gions, start­ing next year, to pre­vent dis­abil­ity af­fect­ing young chil­dren, a se­nior depart­ment of­fi­cial said.

“ECI is a sys­tem of co­or­di­nated ser­vices that pro­motes the chil­dren’s de­vel­op­ment and sup­ports fam­i­lies dur­ing the crit­i­cal early years,” ac­cord­ing to San San Aye, di­rec­tor gen­eral of the so­cial wel­fare depart­ment un­der the Min­istry of so­cial Wel­fare, Re­lief and Resettlement.

ECI’s im­ple­men­ta­tion is set to be­gin in eight town­ships from Aye­yarwaddy, Magwe and Yangon re­gions, she added.

Around 42-45 per­cent of Myan­mar chil­dren un­der the age of five, and their fam­i­lies re­quire ECI ser­vices in 2017, ac­cord­ing to an es­ti­mate from the gov­ern­ment’s Na­tional Strate­gic Plan for Early Child­hood In­ter­ven­tion (2017-2021).

Cur­rently, 35.1pc of Myan­mar chil­dren are mod­er­ately to se­verely stunted; all of these chil­dren are likely to have one or more de­vel­op­men­tal de­lays, ac­cord­ing to a UNICEF re­port.

More­over, at least 5pc to 12pc of chil­dren in the coun­try will be iden­ti­fied to have dis­abil­i­ties, chronic diseases or atyp­i­cal be­hav­iors, it added.

The study ex­pressed con­fi­dence that over time, ap­prox­i­mately 70pc of chil­dren ben­e­fit­ing from ECI will im­prove in their de­vel­op­ment and con­sol­i­date their gains within one to two years.

The re­main­ing 30% will have life­long dis­abil­i­ties or other con­di­tions. ECI ser­vices usu­ally greatly im­prove their de­vel­op­ment and help them to achieve their full po­ten­tial, it said.

Ac­cord­ing to the 2014 Myan­mar pop­u­la­tion and hous­ing cen­sus, 4.6pc of the to­tal pop­u­la­tion – over 2.3 mil­lion peo­ple out of nearly 51 mil­lion peo­ple – are suf­fer­ing from dis­abil­i­ties.

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