(If) Tribal Children's Lives Matter, Measure Them!

Indian Pediatr. 2021 Jan 15;58(1):11-12. doi: 10.1007/s13312-021-2349-5.


To develop to their full potential, all children need to receive nurturing care. This means that, starting in pregnancy, they are raised in a stable environment that is sensitive to their health and nutritional needs, with protection from threats, opportunities for early learning, and interactions that are responsive, emotionally supportive, and developmentally stimulating. Nurturing care ensures the foundations are laid early in life for an individual to survive and thrive. Yet, at least 250 million children younger than 5 years worldwide are at risk of not reaching their developmental potential, having major implications for their health, education, productivity and well-being along the life course. Primary health care services provide a platform for universal support to all families and children, and an entry point for early identification and interventions for families and children with additional needs. Healthcare providers, including pediatricians, are uniquely well placed to watch and learn about the strengths and vulnerabilities of a family and a child, open the dialogue about the child’s development, and support caregivers in providing their children nurturing care. Evidence shows that when caregivers are supported to provide all components of nurturing care, starting from pregnancy, children have a better chance to unlock their developmental potential, even when faced with adversities. This paper outlines how the Nurturing Care Framework and its five strategic actions guide multi-sectoral policies, interventions and services. It articulates the important role the health sector can play in supporting young children’s development in the early years.

Publication types

  • Editorial
  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Mortality*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • India
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Life Expectancy*
  • Parturition
  • Pregnancy