We start the 21st century...Early childhood care
There is an urgency to working with children and their families during the very early childhood years - a time with the greatest possibilities for breaking through intergenerational cycles of chronic poor health and suboptimal human development. This is when the foundation can best be set to ensure that children are physically healthy, mentally alert, emotionally secure, socially competent and intellectually able to learn by the time they reach primary school age.
This foundation depends on care and nurturing for the child, good nutrition, including breastfeeding for up to six months, access to safe water and sanitation, and immunization against vaccine-preventable diseases. It also depends on a protective atmosphere that encourages early socialization, stimulation and positive interaction with family and community.
And it requires that mothers are well cared for during pregnancy, delivery and lactation as a way to assure children the healthiest beginnings and to prevent the needless deaths of the 585,000 women who die each year of complications during pregnancy and childbirth.