Experiences of incorporating support for early childhood development into the Baby Friendly Community Initiative in rural Kenya

Teresa Mwoma, et al - Journal of the British Academy

Abstract: Over 66 per cent of children in sub-Saharan Africa remain affected by poor developmental outcomes, exacerbating early inequalities. UNICEF and WHO evolved the Care for Child Development package (CCD) as a community-based initiative to support caregivers to develop stronger relationships with young children and support nurturing care. The Baby Friendly Community Initiative (BFCI) is a global WHO strategy to promote optimal maternal, infant and young child nutrition at the community level. This paper provides insights into the feasibility and lessons learned from rural Kenya in providing CCD training and supporting its implementation alongside the BFCI. Findings from qualitative interviews with caregivers and implementers of the BFCI revealed that training community health volunteers on CCD, enabled them to deliver CCD messages alongside those of the BFCI during counselling sessions. However, a more integrated approach to training as well as practical training opportunities, refresher training and provision of materials that facilitate the programme will enable further support for nurturing care in Kenya.