Better data collection for early childhood in the health sector

The Institute for Early Childhood Development (IECD) handed over two documents to the Ministry of Health which is expected to improve data collection within the ministry.

This was done during a ceremony at the Site auditorium Tuesday 23rd October 2018 in the presence of various partners and related ministries.

The collection and calculation manual as well as the child health and nutrition indicator dictionary are the two documents that are now expected to better equip medical officers to collect information in regards to mothers during and after pregnancy, babies and children below seven years. This is aimed at allowing different parties to have more accurate information that will ensure better policy and decision making.

The need for an improved data collection in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) was pointed out by the World Bank in 2005. With the technical assistance of the World Bank and financial support of the Japan Trust, IECD embarked on a project in 2016 to develop sound
indicators for a national database and efficient processes to improve data collection and storage in the health system.

Several workshops were conducted along the years to develop indicators based on the World Health Organisation’s standard 2006. With those indicators a pilot project was initiated to test its effectiveness.

Some of the guidelines look at the height, the low and high weight in children below five years, level of haemoglobin that would indicate anaemia, low birth rate, gestational diabetes, exclusive and partial breastfeeding.

During this same ceremony, Egbert Benstrong, the consultant working on the project, presented the preliminary results of the study. The study shows an almost even ratio of male and female within the early children stage; with an overall average of 1:1. Followed by moderate levels of anaemia among the same group, as well as the rising concern of child obesity.

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