Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) Task Force Recommendations for Incorporating Nurturing Care for Early Childhood Development (NC-ECD) in Medical Education in India

Indian Pediatr. 2021 Jul 7;S097475591600352. Online ahead of print.


Background: The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends promotion of nurturing care for early childhood development (NC-ECD) by focusing on five essential components viz good health, adequate nutrition, promotion of early childhood learning, responsive caregiving, and safety and security. Indian medical graduate and pediatricians are the keys to successful delivery and propagation of NC-ECD in the community. Their training therefore needs to include skills and knowledge needed to promote and practice ECD.

Objectives: To evaluate the existing undergraduate (UG) and postgraduate (PG) curricula of Pediatrics for components related to early childhood development, assess gaps in the training essential to practice and promote ECD, and suggest recommendations to incorporate NC-ECD in the UG-PG curricula.

Process: Indian Academy of Pediatrics created a Task Force to review the UG/PG medical curricula, consisting of experts from Pediatrics and Medical education. The Task force deliberated on 20 March 2021 and identified the gaps in current curricula and provided suggestions to strengthen it. The recommendations of the Taskforce are presented here.

Recommendations: Taskforce identified that the UG/PG medical curricula are lacking training for propagating early childhood learning, responsive caregiving, caregiver support, and ensuring safety and security of children. The taskforce provided a list of competencies related to ECD that need to be included in both UG and PG curriculum. NC-ECD should also be included in topics for integrated teaching. Postgraduates also need to be exposed to hands-on-training at anganwadis, creches, and in domestic setting.