Ghana is the first country in the world to launch its ‘Nurturing Care Framework for Early Childhood Development’ after the global launch in May, this year at the World Health Summit.
The framework seeks to instil into parenting, globally agreed nurturing care for childhood development, with the aim of assisting children to achieve their full potentials in life through efforts in five components of nurturing care.
The five components are good health, adequate nutrition, opportunities for early learning, security and safety as well as responsive care-giving to the child.
Launching the framework in Accra, the Second Lady of Ghana, Mrs Samira Bawumia pledged her unflinching support to the cause of ensuring efficient nurturing of the younger generations.
“I wish to pledge my continuous commitment to this cause and hope that we can count on sustained cooperation and support from all our partners especially the donor communities to make our goal a reality,” the Second Lady said.
She said early childhood development was crucial because it was at this stage that most growth occurred, and children learned more from birth to age three than any other time in their lives, and “once we miss this window of opportunity, we miss the moment for action, we do not get a second chance”.
Mrs Bawumia, therefore, indicated that it was time to step up efforts towards efficient nurturing care for children, saying, “We know better so we must do better”.
She said the framework was not implementable only by a particular sector, adding that “we need to encourage multiple sectors thus health, nutrition, education, labour, finance, water and sanitation as well as child and social protection to work together…”
The health sector, she noted, had a pivotal role to play in the nurturing care agenda especially because of its unique positioning to reach care givers during critical moments of pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, during delivery and birth as well as during early childhood.
She called on the health sector, including partners, to lead and coordinate actions accordingly to achieve the goals of the framework.
Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, the Director General of the Ghana Health Service, said investing in the health of children was one of the best decision a country could make.
He said there was also the need to inspire stakeholder coordination in the global quest to ensure that every child developed their full potentials to the benefits of the country and the world at large.
As an agency, “we will continue to monitor the progress of the nurturing care framework and report, to inform decision making as well as aid planning in the future”.
Dr Kwaku Agyeman Manu, the Minister for Health, called for strengthened stakeholder collaboration in community awareness creation, as well as enhanced advocacy in the implementation of the framework, in order to achieve the desired goals.