Government to launch early childhood project to aid children with disabilities
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.