Background and aims In the last 5 years, the cooperation of UNICEF and the Ministry of Health of Serbia (MoH), has been aimed at supporting children in early childhood development (ECD), and their families, through several projects which have been carrying out by the Paediatric Association of Serbia (PAS) and partners. The purpose of this project was to build the health care system for supporting ECD at both national and local level. The aims of the work is to present the results of 3 years implementation of the project, conducted by PAS, with support of MoH and Unicef.
Methods Analysis the results of the project by data obtained from project and primary health centre (PHC) coordinators reports. For PHCs, this included analysis of tests of knowledge, satisfaction of course participants, and activities in the implementation of lessons learned at the educational courses.
Results The intoduction of the topics on ECD into pre- and postgraduate teaching curricula is being implemented in medical faculties, concurrently with establishing and training multidisciplinary university ECD teams. Topics on ECD were presented at national meetings and published in both printed and online materials.Training of 90 paediatricians in 9 PHCs was made through 11 (84hours) basic courses.The level of knowledge increased by an average of 33%, and 98% participants were satisfied. The instruments (ASQ, IGMCD) for assessing the overall development of children aged up to 48 months were applied in 3948 children: out of 4914 ASQs given to parents, 4061 were filled in.The 2096 check-lists, created for following-up children in the ECD field, were filled in for 1706 children. Informing parents on importance of stimulating ECD is being implemented through health education, counselling and publications. Improvement in DCUs was done by education at 96 hours of advanced courses, provision of equipment and adjusting the space. The implementation of the procedures for intra- and intersector cooperation within local commmunites was done.The implementation of the projects goals was supervised by regular mentors and experts visits.
Conclusions The improvement of ECD outcomes for children may be achieved by improving the quality of health care system support to young children and their families, particularly to children from vulnerable social goups. Focusing at the PHCs, using educational courses and practical training, may serve as a good basis for implementation of ECD policy into practice.
- early childhood development
- paediatricians training
- parents support
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