13 December 2017
Breaking News
Thursday, 23 November 2017 15:01

Children with physical challenges shunning ECD centres

Written by  Brian Itai
Minister Responsible for Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Dr Jean Kalilani Minister Responsible for Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Dr Jean Kalilani

 

Lilongwe, November 23, 2017: Lack of adequate disability friendly facilities and stimulation materials, wrong attitudes, mindset and perceptions on the part of the communities and parents are some of the reasons why children with physical challenges continue to stay away from Early Child Development Centres (ECD).

National ECD Director in the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Francis Chalamanda said this Wednesday on the sidelines of the national ECD conference in Mangochi.

He said despite efforts by the ministry and other partners in making ECD services inclusive and accessible to all children, very few children access them.

 “There are multiple reasons why children with physical challenges stay away from ECD centres. Some of the caregivers lack the prerequisite skills to teach, play and stimulate children with physical challenges to learn and develop,” said Chalamanda.

He said there is hope with the new national ECD policy that most challenges contributing to this problem will be addressed.

 “The new policy is making much emphasis on the importance of wholesale integration of all children in our activities. Let the children with physical challenges mix with the rest so they are stimulated and cared for the same way,” he explained.

Chalamanda further said ECD centres remain the best place for the development of children with physical challenges because they offer benefits in various ways.

Speaking during the opening of the conference, National ECD Coalition Chairperson Janet Kuyeli stressed on the need to harmonize efforts from all players in the sector for quick and well measured impact of their investment.

 “These platforms should provide opportunities to ECD implementers to network and collaborate with other players, form linkages and share lessons and experiences in various ECD activities.

“We are looking at best practices that ECD workers, caregivers, managers, supervisors are doing because our intention is to make sure that these best practices are shared with different communities to amplify interventions made in ECD sector,” Kuyeli said.

She added that with available resources for ECD, there is need to train caregivers and procure materials to address the needs of children including those with physical challenges.

These components will add value to the construction disability friendly infrastructure like toilets and play materials to further increase access of these services.

In the current budget, K630 million has been allocated towards ECD services in the country.

The conference in Mangochi was being held under the theme ‘Accelerating accessible, quality and equitable ECD services in Malawi’.

 

 

    

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