In response to the call of UNICEF and WHO and the Sustainable Development Goals on Early Childhood Development, the Research and Training Centre for Community Development (RTCCD) in collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MoH), Vietnam and the University of Melbourne and Monash University (Australia) delivered a workshop entitled “Care for Child Development in the first 1000 days: From research to policy advocacy” on October 5th. The workshop attracted participation from more than 80 delegates from various agencies, including the Communist Party of Vietnam, Ministry of Health, UNICEF, research institutes, hospitals, local and international NGOs and media … The workshop was chaired by Dr. Tran Dang Khoa, Deputy Director of Maternal and Child health Department (MoH), Prof. Jane Fisher, Director of Jean Hailes Research Unit, Monash University, and Dr. Tran Tuan, Director of RTCCD.
At the workshop, speakers presented evidence about the lack of comprehensive interventions for early childhood development in Vietnam. In this context, MoH, RTCCD, Monash University and the University of Melbourne has proposed an initiative to improve care for children in the 1000 days in rural Vietnam through establishing and operating “Learning clubs for women’s health and infant development”. This project was funded by Grand Challenges Canada in phase 1 (2014-2015), and is now funded by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) in phase 2 (2018-2020).
The aims of the “Learning clubs” are to improve women’s health and infants’ health and development and to ensure children receive comprehensive and responsive care to optimise their development in their first two years of life, through addressing multiple factors. This workshop focused on evidence and experience sharing, based on outcomes achieved in phase 1 of the project. The workshop also created opportunities for stakeholders to cooperate in forming a technical advisory and policy advocacy team. It is expected that the Learning Clubs will be integrated into National program in Vietnam and for care for child development in the first 1000 days of life to be included in the Package for Essential Preventive Healthcare Services, which will be covered by the Universal Health Insurance. This will be a basis for a proposal to the Government to revise the Law for Diagnosis and Treatment of Diseases and the Law for Preventive Medicine.