Strategies for reducing inequalities and improving developmental outcomes for young children in low-income and middle-income countries

Lancet. 2011 Oct 8;378(9799):1339-53. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(11)60889-1. Epub 2011 Sep 22.


This report is the second in a Series on early child development in low-income and middle-income countries and assesses the effectiveness of early child development interventions, such as parenting support and preschool enrolment. The evidence reviewed suggests that early child development can be improved through these interventions, with effects greater for programmes of higher quality and for the most vulnerable children. Other promising interventions for the promotion of early child development include children's educational media, interventions with children at high risk, and combining the promotion of early child development with conditional cash transfer programmes. Effective investments in early child development have the potential to reduce inequalities perpetuated by poverty, poor nutrition, and restricted learning opportunities. A simulation model of the potential long-term economic effects of increasing preschool enrolment to 25% or 50% in every low-income and middle-income country showed a benefit-to-cost ratio ranging from 6·4 to 17·6, depending on preschool enrolment rate and discount rate.

Publication types

  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Child Development*
  • Humans