Health care systems are well-trusted and far-reaching. Their access to young children and their families in the most critical years for optimal brain development provides a unique opportunity to support caregivers for nurturing care, which includes care for the child's health, safety and security, responsive Interactions, learning and stimulation, and identification of and support for children at risk of developmental difficulties to develop to their full potential.
In 2021 UNICEF Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia, WHO Europe, and the International Step by Step Association (ISSA) joined efforts through the Health Systems for Early Child Development initiative. With the support of experts and professionals, the initiative aims to strengthen focus and support for holistic child development in routine health care for all children.
On 6 December 2022, the initiative will officially launch its website, offering a one-stop-shop for curated contemporary, evidence-based guidance, resources, and expertise on developmentally oriented health systems in Europe and Central Asia.