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Calliaqua residents benefit from ECHO programme

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Residents of Calliaqua are the first to benefit from the Early Childhood Health Outreach (ECHO) programme.{{more}}

On Friday, September 3, 2010, the Caribbean Child Support Initiative (CCSI) Programme Director, Susan Branker-Lashley and the Early Childhood Health Outreach (ECHO) Programme Coordinator, Kathleen Mandeville, met with Community Health Aides (CHAs) in Calliaqua, to have discussions about the recently launched health programme.

They also visited a home in that community to see the programme in effect.

The ECHO programme is a community based service being undertaken by the Caribbean Child Support Initiative (CCSI), in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the Environment, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) and the Bernard van Leer Foundation (BvLF).

This programme was launched in St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Monday, June 7, at the Anglican Pastoral Centre in New Montrose. The programme targets pregnant women and families with children from birth to three years, who may be economically disadvantaged.

Eighteen CHAs were trained in the core concepts of the Roving Caregivers Programme (RCP) in preparation for home-visits in the varioues communities. They were trained in all aspects of Early Childhood Health Development including physical, cognitive, behavioural, social and psychological development.

Seven of the 18 CHAs will conduct field activities in Calliaqua.

Calliaqua Health District was selected based on the high level of poverty that exists within the community coupled with the number of “at risk” children in the area. The programme is anticipated to be instituted nationally after two years of piloting.

One of the main objectives of the programme is to promote and support parental/caregiver involvement in the assessment of and intervention in early childhood development for children from birth to age three, who may be at risk and without access to other early childhood development services.

The programme integrates early stimulation and other aspects of the six year Roving Caregivers Programme (RCP), and compliments the current Ministry of Health and the Environment Strategic Plan, which provides for maternal and child health.