In 2021 UNICEF Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia (ECARO), WHO Regional Office for Europe (WHO/Europe), and the International Step by Step Association (ISSA) joined forces to launch Health Systems for Early Child Development initiative. The overarching goal of the initiative is to enhance the wellbeing of children during early childhood through accelerating efforts in Europe and Central Asia (ECA) to build more “developmentally oriented” and family-centred health systems and services empowering caregivers to provide children with nurturing care – a safe and enabling environment that ensures good health and nutrition, protects them from threats, offers opportunities for early learning and encourages responsive and emotionally supportive interactions with parents and caregivers.
UNICEF ECARO, WHO/Europe and ISSA have a long history of collaboration and technical expertise in health and early child development. Over the years, this partnership has resulted in positive changes throughout the ECA region, especially for the most vulnerable children. The work of this initiative is supported by a Technical Advisory Group (TAG) composed of international and regional experts, and representatives of health professional associations.
You can learn more about the initiative in this video.