Integrated and collaborative work between different sectors is paramount to achieve sustainable success of development policies
Brasilia, November 11, 2016 – On Wednesday 9th, scientific journal The Lancet, a prestigious reference in healthcare science since the nineteenth century, launched its series Advancing Early Childhood Development: from Science to Scale in Brazil, at PAHO headquarters in capital Brasilia.
Based on the findings and recommendations of the 2007 and 2011 issues, this year’s publication proposes pathways to scale early childhood development programs. Different areas of research have highlighted the importance of comprehensive and integrated care from birth to age 3, period in which children respond more quickly to interventions. Lack of care during this age can result in poor school performance, chronic diseases and other developmental delays.

Sergio Amaral/MDS

Research Coordinator and Stanford Professor Gary Darmstadt states that child development initiatives should be guided by multisectoral policies. “Having a program able to concentrate resources and coordinate actions is paramount for success,” said Darmstadt.

In Brazil, the Happy Child Program (Criança Feliz) aims to act integrate initiatives in different sectors such as social assistance, education, health, culture and justice and promote comprehensive development for approximately 4 million children recipients of Bolsa Família Program (PBF).
The Ministry of Social and Agrarian Development (MDSA), in charge of Happy Child Program, plans to conduct home visits to advise families on the best ways to foster their children’s development.
The study undertaken for the publication found that 43% of children under five (almost 250 million) in low and middle-income countries are at high developmental risk caused mainly by hunger, malnutrition and violence. Access to quality public policy allows families to revert this situation.
The series also shows the great benefits offered to children by cash transfer programs. In Brazil, PBF serves 13.9 million extremely poor (per capita monthly income of up to 85 BRL) and poor (between 85.01 and 170 BRL) families who commit to certain healthcare and school attendance duties.
“Families affected by poverty can benefit from cash transfers in terms of having enough resources to provide their children with access to services. There’s strong evidence that Bolsa Família can help in this direction, ” added Professor Darmstadt.
The Brazil launch of The Lancet is supported by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) and the World Bank, in partnership with the Maria Cecilia Souto Vidigal Foundation and MDSA.
The publication, now available in English, will also be available in Portuguese. Click here to see The Lancet’s new series Advancing Early Childhood Development: from Science to Scale.