You are here:


Health and Nutrition

Maternal and Child Health

Programmes promoting the development of motor skills (gross and fine), child health in uterus, at birth and throughout childhood up to 8 years of age, such as: pre-natal and post-natal care; health checks including dental check, general body development check, ears and eyes (UNICEF, 2016); prevention and treatment of diseases such as malaria and also severe infections (i.e. HIV-AIDS); vaccinations against at least 10 diseases that may be serious and cause permanent injury and, in the worst case, be fatal – Diphtheria, Tetanus, Whooping cough (pertussis), Polio, Meningitis and epiglottitis caused by Haemophilus in uenzae type b, Meningitis and other serious diseases caused by pneumococci, Measles, Mumps, Rubella (German measles), Cervical cancer (only girls are vaccinated). Finally programmes focusing on hygiene, water and sanitation.


Nutrition is the baseline for healthy development, effective education, balanced relational and emotional development. Development of nutrition plan for children 0-8. Meal provision for children in need. Stunting prevention, Obesity prevention and parenting programmes on children nutrition. Food supplements and healthy, balanced diets provision.

Health and nutrition programmes are generally ran in community health centres, health facilities, child clinics and hospitals, at home, but can be even implemented in formal and informal childcare centres and facilities, pre-primary schools, primary schools.


WASH, water, sanitation and Hygiene

The main objective of Water Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) is to provide proper facilities for children concerning drinking water, handwashing, menstrual hygiene management (MHM), safe water handling and safe disposal of excreta. It is important to create hygienic condition, aimed at preventing and avoiding the dissemination of diseases, and cascading correct style of hygiene.

Main goal of this programme is the creation of a national WASH system and set Hygiene rules of ECCE to:

  1. Model evidence-based and innovative approaches and technologies on a large scale
  2. Act in emergencies, when children are most vulnerable
  3. Reach the poorest and most marginalized groups result such as accessible WASH facilities for children with disabilities and menstrual hygiene management facilities and supplies for young women

Guidelines on WASH mainly refer to communication strategies (campaign, ads, sensitization of communities), in order to spread information knowledge and tools – including monitoring – in the communities, on the correct use of sanitation and hygiene (to handle excreta (including infant and child feces), which must safely disposed in situ, or transported and treated off-site ) along with furniture of sanitary and hygiene equipments (hand washing facilities with soap or, at least, with ash and water). Guidelines sets standards with respect to fecal contamination and chemical contaminants, including arsenic and fluoride, and support assessment of WASH situation in ECCE settings (see infrastructures’ standards).


Child protection

Child protection

This sector is usually scattered in different ministries and institutions, but the outcomes of it is a general protection of children from different point of view: legal, social and emotional. A fundamental concept to bear in mind is that the basic condition for a correct development and an effective education is a status of general, psychological wellness of child. This set of programmes is aimed at giving each and every child the basic condition for the best development possible. These programmes, which cover the entire spectrum of childhood, from birth to 8 years of age, aim at enforcing the respect of children’s body and mind.

Legal protection

Legal protection starts with registration at birth; other programmes entails protection from violence and abuses (both on children and women), in respect of CRC.

Social protection

Social protection entails actions, such as banning of child labour and interventions tackling child material and economic poverty.

Emotional protection

It entails special care and psychological counselling for children to strengthen specifically socio-emotional development.

Protection programmes

Protection programmes are implemented through variety of services, such as formal and informal childcare centres and facilities, community health centres, health facilities, child clinics and hospitals, pre-primary schools, primary schools, local authorities offices.

Moreover, specific programmes and services must be designed to meet the needs of children in special circumstances, such as children with disabilities, Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVCs), and displaced children which is, at present, an emerging issue in many countries.

Programmes for children under special circumstances

Programmes for children with special needs

This programme, often called ECI, Early Childhood Interventions, or Early Interventions, is aimed at supporting children who live with a physical, sensory, intellectual or mental health disability are among the most stigmatized and marginalized. Interventions includes programmes and services such as:

  • Audiology services
  • Medical services and physical therapy to prevent or lessen movement’s difficulties and related functional problems.
  • Nursing services
  • Occupational therapy and provision of equipment and services that are used to improve or maintain the abilities of a child
  • Psychological services counselling, consultation, therapies, parent training, and education programmes; mental health counselling for children, parents, and families.
  • Speech-language pathology – services for children with delay in communication skills or with motor skills such as weakness of muscles around the mouth or swallowing.
  • Vision services – identification of children with visual disorders or delays and providing services and training to those children

Children with special needs can either be integrated into mainstream services in care, education, health and nutrition, protection, or in dedicated centres or facilities (UNICEF, 2011).


Displaced children

Refugees, IDPs face very critical situations. Displaced, exhausted parents are less able to provide the stimulation, nurturance and care that their infants need[7]. Investing in ECCE in displaced context is the first boost to get improvement not only in children’s life, but at siblings, mothers, families and communities. This will enable either a better integration in the new context, or the capacity to be part of the reconstruction when children and young population will return to the Country of origin. Yet, several issues might emerge, such as language of communication between children, families, and hosting authorities, adaptation of legislations, programmes and services. Resources mobilization to expand services. Mobile services might be also envisaged.