The Lancet series on Advancing Early Childhood Development: From Science to Scale - What needs to be done for children living with HIV

On the 7th December 2016, The Lancet launched in South Africa a new series on Advancing Early Childhood Development: From Science to Scale, at the CSIR International Convention Centre in Pretoria.

This launch was managed by Mrs Noreen Huni, CEO of REPSSI, one of RIATT-ESA’s key partners and champions for children’s rights specifically in the care and support of vulnerable children through the lifecycle.

At the launch lead researcher Professor Linda Richter emphasised the need for further investment in the early years, and the direct impact “nurturing and care” has on the developmental stages from infant through to the transition into adulthood. Professor Mark Tomlison highlighted that giving children “the basics” of love, discipline, nutrition and safety supports the children’s physical, emotional and social development. The Minister of the Department of Science and Technology, Ms Naledi Pandor, added that there is a urgent need to invest in the community carers. “We need to build the capacity of mothers, and women in the community to support the development of children in the early years.”

The research also highlighted the importance of linking ECD interventions with already available services. This is of key importance for children living with HIV. Children affected by, and those living with HIV, are at risk of stunting, and without key interventions, they will be destined to continue in the cycle of poverty.

In eastern and southern Africa we have the highest rates of children living with HIV, most of whom do not have the support they need to access and adhere to ARV treatment. In order to move Africa forward, and reach the Target 4.2 on the SDG of “Ensuring that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development,” we need targeted ECD interventions for children living with HIV, interventions that are not just focused on access to treatment, but also on the crucial nurturing and care that is essential for children’s optimal development.

Click here to download the Lancet Series on Advancing Early Childhood Development: from Science to Scale

Click here to download the Lancet ECD Executive Summary