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Meghalaya govt conceptualises early childhood development programme

The Meghalaya government has conceptualised an early childhood development programme, aimed at overall welfare of children, with the state lagging behind in most health indicators, an official said.

The Early Childhood Development Mission will cater to 1,554 villages, which are not being covered under the ICDS programme, state health department principal secretary Sampath Kumar said.

The Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) is a central government scheme that aims at improving the nutritional and health status of children up to six years of age and reducing the incidence of mortality, morbidity, malnutrition and school dropout.

Meghalaya lags behind in most critical health indicators with a life expectancy rate below the national average. The ECD mission, aimed at overall welfare of children till their 18 years of age, will help improve the overall life expectancy of the state’s future residents,” Kumar said.

Implementation of the programme requires a collaborative approach from health, social welfare, education, community and rural development departments, he said, while addressing a workshop here on Tuesday to review the state’s Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) curriculum.

The curriculum was announced by Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma in the last budget session of the assembly. Kumar also gave a detailed presentation of the ECD mission at the programme.

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