National and international experts met in Chisinau to identify solutions for the development of the Early Childhood Intervention system
An international conference in the field of Early Childhood Intervention system
Chisinau, 24 May 2022 An international conference on Early Childhood Intervention brought together representatives of state structures, beneficiaries of early intervention services, civil society, managers of district healthcare facilities, as well as representatives of UNICEF Moldova and the European Union Delegation to the Republic of Moldova, which supports reforms in the medical and social sector in Moldova.
Subject-matter experts have pointed out that many children with developmental impairments do not benefit from consistent and holistic support. Moreover, families in remote villages have limited access to quality services, due to economic and geographical inequalities, thus disadvantaging the most vulnerable groups. Despite the existing legal framework, extensive capacity building, empowerment and training sessions need to be conducted, including a strategic planning of the sector by creating a cross-sectoral coordination and cooperation structure.
‘The European Union, through the ,”EU4Moldova: Focal Regions” program, supports the development of Early Childhood Intervention services for small children with developmental delays and disabilities in Cahul and Ungheni districts and this conference is an important platform to discuss how we can address the challenges in the field’, underlined Ion Guzun, Project Manager within Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Moldova.
‘We appreciate the efforts undertaken to develop the Early Childhood Intervention sector, both by civil society organisations, development partners, the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Moldova, UNICEF Moldova, UNDP Moldova, Lumos Moldova, and by international experts who are always in touch with professionals in the country. We also appreciate the consolidated effort of parents of children with special needs, beneficiaries of Early Childhood Intervention services, who dedicate their lives to support the development of their children’, said Ion Prisacaru, State Secretary of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Moldova.
‘When we speak about the early childhood, the first 1,000 days of a child’s life are the most important and provide critical opportunities for children diagnosed with developmental delays. In these days, the health system together with parents have a crucial role in identifying delays and disabilities, to intervene timely and build a strong foundation for each child’s future. Despite the fact that UNICEF has supported the development of early intervention services for small children with disabilities over the past decade, only 10% of them have access to early intervention services. UNICEF advocates for increased funding for services and will continue to support the Government to ensure that the most vulnerable children have access to early intervention services’, said Maha Damaj, UNICEF Country Representative.
The conference highlighted the needs in the field of Early Childhood Intervention at the national level, to provide services in line with the European quality standards. At the same time, the conference highlighted the importance of programs and services in ensuring a smooth transition and quality integration of children in the education institutions.
In this context, a group of international experts and conference participants will draft a resolution which will present in a structured manner the key areas for developing and strengthening the Early Childhood Intervention sector in the Republic of Moldova.
The International Conference on Early Childhood Intervention ‘Stronger Together’ was organised by ‘Voinicel’ Early Intervention Center, as part of ‘Development of Early Childhood Intervention Services for Small Children with Developmental Delays and Disabilities in Cahul and Ungheni Districts’ project, through the EU4Moldova: Focal Regions Program (2019-2024), funded by the European Union and implemented by UNDP Moldova and UNICEF Moldova.
The event was attended by national and international experts in the field of child development, such as Emily Vargas Baron, PhD in philosophy and anthropology with educational policy planning from the USA, Eric Bloemkolk, director of ‘Soft Tulip’ from Netherlands, Jose Boavida Fernandes, expert, child neurologist, Health Commissioner, National Early Childhood Intervention System of Portugal, Ane Lillian Tveit, specialist service developer from Norway, Ion Guzun, Project Manager at European Union Delegation, Ninel Revenco, University Professor, Director of the Pediatrics Department of ‘Nicolae Testemitanu’ SUMP, Ivan Puiu, University Professor, Expert in Early Childhood Intervention, ‘Voinicel’ Center.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org
Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook