International Conference on Child’s Health and Development, with the aim of highlighting the importance of offering a platform for researchers and field workers to share experiences and for integrating the efforts towards improving child’s development, was organized by Action Against Hunger(ACF) on June 8 and 9 in Kathmandu Nepal. The conference was started with the speech of Mr. Sudipta Kumar Badapanda (Country Director of ACF) highlighted, in his greetings, the importance of behaviour and practices of caregivers to provide not only food but also the stimulation and emotional support which is essential for the children’s growth and development. In the opening address, Cecile Bizouerne(Mental health and Care Practices Senior Advisor, ACF) emphasized on integrating mental health and child care practices of enhancing child’s growth and development.
Meanwhile, the key note speaker, Debjeet Sen provided a concept of early child development with its importance. He also stated that only anthropometric measurement is not the standard way for measuring the malnutrition but also there is the need to focus on those buffered kids who could have good cognitive development despite their body structure.
The conference was inaugurated by the Director General of Department of Health Services, Dr. Rajendra Pant. There was the participation of dignitaries from Child Health Division, international and national non-government organization, academia and so on. Researchers shared the researches and experiences from different part of the world through which the recent findings or advancements in studies that have the potential to improve child health services and child care practices were presented and discussed.
As a part of this community of practices, Transcultural Psychosocial Organization (TPO) also did two poster presentations namely “Promoting Maternal Mental Health through Early Detection” which was presented by the Research Officer of TPO, Ms. PrasansaSubba. The research has basically focused on the Community Informant Detection Tool(CIDT) which is a kind of tool used by Female Community Health Volunteers (FCHV) that uses vignette to screen the mother with some form of common mental problems. This experience concluded that timely detection and treatment ofdepression of the mothers can have positiveimplications on both the mother’s health andchild’s development in the long run.
Similarly, the second presentation from TPO was “Feasibility and acceptability of home-based m-Health sensing technologies to improve early child development interventions in Nepal” which was presented by Research Assistant of TPO, Mr. Kiran Thapa. This research focuses on validating the feasibility and acceptability of different technologies that helps to monitor the interaction between the child and caregivers.The findings will be used to select home sensing devices for piloting in Nepali households for collection of family-child interaction data that can subsequently be used to enhance home-based interventions. Although the conclusion is yet to be driven, the preliminary analyses suggest that technological literacy might act as a barrier to using technology.
Further than this, the oral and posters presentations on the conference encompassed the maternal mental health, parenting skills, child cognitive development, prevention, treatment and measurement of undernutrition, including nutrition specific and nutrition-sensitive interventions. The conference provided all the delegates a lens to observe early child development as a part of overall development of the nation. It brought up into account very important key take home messages which were essential for our organization as well to work on the field of child’s cognitive and mental health.