TWO EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT CENTERS OPENED IN CANTON SARAJEVO WITH EU SUPPORT

30 January 2024
TWO EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT CENTERS OPENED IN CANTON SARAJEVO WITH EU SUPPORT
UNICEF/Panjeta

As of today, two newly established Early Childhood Development Centers located in Vogošća and Saraj polje will be working on early detection of development difficulties and providing adequate services to children aged 0-6 years. The two centers funded by the European Union will aim to support early childhood development services for more than 30.000 children in Canton Sarajevo. The centres in Vogosca and Saraj polje are two out of 10 Early Childhood Development Centers (ECD) in BiH funded by the European Union and set up by UNICEF to help early identification of children at risk of developmental difficulties and support early childhood intervention.

Head of EU Delegation and EU Special Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina Johann Sattler and  General Manager of Primary Health Care Center of Canton Sarajevo Abel Baltic officially opened the Early Childhood Development Centre in Vogošća today in presence of Acting Representative of UNICEF BiH Veronika Vashchenko,  FiBiH Minister of Health Nediljko Rimac, Cantonal Minister of Health Enis Hasanovic and Mayor of Municipality Vogošća Migdad Hasanovic.

The new centres will support children to feel safe while they are receiving support, and will also work closely with parents. I would like to express my enormous respect and appreciation for the pediatricians, speech therapists and other medical professionals who will work in these centres for their hard work and dedication. The establishment of these centres is part of a bigger project worth 10 million euros funded by the European Union to improve overall preventive and primary health care in Bosnia and Herzegovina and provide access to quality healthcare services for all citizens of this country. I am glad we are able to provide such support”, said Ambassador Sattler.

Health services within primary health care sector are of concern, as it is a first point of contact of children aged 0-6, with the public system and should serve as a referral point to other public services. Health system have unique and the greatest potential to identify children at risk of developmental difficulties and support early childhood intervention.

Beyond the moral importance of investing in children, investments in early childhood development are shown to be among the best investments BiH can make in its future, yielding huge socio-economic returns not only for children and their families, but for the society. UNICEF has produced a compelling case for investing in children aged 0 to 6, showing, that scaling up essential health and nutrition services could save 20 child lives each year. An investment in early childhood thus lays a strong foundation for development, increases the effectiveness of the education and health systems, improves the chances of economic productivity and growth, and contributes to a society of equal opportunities that leaves no one behind”, said Vashchenko.

The project will ensure specialized trainings for health professionals, such as pediatricians, nurses, special educators and rehabilitators, and speech therapists who will obtain ECD and Early Childhood Intervention training certificates.

Strengthening the capacity in the field of early childhood development is one of the priorities of the FBiH Development Strategy and improving the quality of early intervention services through the establishment and expansion of early childhood development centers, within the health centers in FBiH is one of the main goals of the Strategic Plan for the Improvement of Early Childhood “, said Minister Rimac.

The establishment of the 10 Early Childhood Development Centers in Bosnia and Herzegovina is part of the project “EU Support to the Health Sector Reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina” worth 10 million euros to strengthen preventive and primary healthcare in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The project is part of the European Union’s continuous support for health sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and will be implemented in partnership with UNICEF, the World Health Organization and World Bank. The WHO is focusing on technical content and interventions around strengthening primary health care, and UNICEF is focusing on a more effective and efficient services and interventions benefiting children's health, which include childhood immunization, early childhood development services, nutrition and mental health.

Media contacts

Nineta Popovic
Communication Officer
UNICEF Bosnia and Herzegovina
Tel: +387 33 293 600

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