Subsequent to a review of the Roving Caregivers Programme conducted in 2006, it was proposed that options for consolidation of their concepts and methodologies (using the “High Scope 0-3 manual) be converged, to extend its reach in a national context.
The Early Childhood Health Outreach (ECHO) was developed out of this consultative effort to conceptualize the integration of various aspects of the RCP into the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) services.
The Caribbean Child Support Initiative (CCSI); United Nations International Children Education Fund (UNICEF); Pan American Health Organization (PAHO); with support from Bernard van Leer Foundation (BvLF) and the Ministry of Health, Wellness & the Environment joined in partnership to converge the ECHO concepts into the Primary Health Care system for “at risk” children 0 - 3 years, by establishing a two-year pilot project in the Calliaqua health district with a view of institutionalizing the program.
The Calliaqua health district was identified due to the following indicators:
At the end of this pilot project the children involved would have received stimulation, which would put them on an even platform so that at the entrance to pre and primary schools they would be well prepared and would have reached their developmental milestones. Parents would also be empowered to assist their children in areas of health, education and social development.
Description of ECHO
The Early Childhood Health Outreach (ECHO) is a programme in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines which was designed to link early childhood development and the health care services for ‘at risk’ children and families.
ECHO uses methods of an informal home-visiting programme for children (birth to three years) which support parents in communities with limited access to these services giving them access to early stimulation and parenting education.
The program addresses the development needs of the very young in disadvantaged conditions where children benefit from: quality care, development of basic skills, better health and nutrition and at the next level, better performance in pre-school; and future education.
“Providing quality Early Childhood Health stimulation readily accessible to “at risk” children & parents”.
“To ensure that adequate resources are provided to enable the environment where young children from all social and economic backgrounds have equal opportunities in reaching their maximum potential.
“To provide non-formal early childhood intervention services in disadvantaged communities for families with children from birth to three years to realize the immediate and long-term benefits of good quality early childhood development experiences”.
ECHO integrated Core Aspects of Roving Caregivers Programme
Appropriate training for nursing and other health personnel have been undertaken prior to the implementation of the programme. Training manuals were developed which incorporates the RCP concepts as well as the new World Health Organization (WHO) growth charts and feeding suggestions for children 0-5 years.
Regular meetings and ongoing consultations have been held and will continue to be held with stakeholders in collaborating agencies for the smooth running and sustainability of the ECHO programme. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has a robust health infrastructure that lends to the sustainability of most of the practices and knowledge from the programme.
How does ECHO Operate
Who is it for
Who is the Home Visitor?
What happens at Home Visits?
Children Worked with by ECHO:
By July 27, 2011 Community Health Aides across Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in the ECHO program had reached 425 children. This number has been calculated from the 496 visits during the period July 2010 – June 2011.
Forty-one (41) Community Health Aides had ECHO training and are executing the ECHO principles and methodologies. Training was done in two parts:
Training topics included:
One batch of CHAs was trained in Family Literacy in February 2011 and another batch was trained in September 2011.
A method ECHO uses to reach parents involved in the program is through parenting workshops. One-day workshops involve practical methods of equipping parents with knowledge and skills of early childhood health development. These parent workshops are ongoing.
Institutionalizing of the ECHO programme
For the sustainability of the ECHO programme efforts have been made to integrate ECHO concepts into existing maternal and child health services in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
The Child Support Initiative in partnership with the Caribbean Internship Project (CIP) and the University of the West Indies started a regional initiative that has seen University students in the field of media and communication, research and psychology working in early childhood development in Eastern Caribbean countries. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has benefitted from this integration through students attachment to the Roving Caregivers Programme (RCP) and the Early Childhood Health Outreach (ECHO).
Mrs. Kathleen Mandeville (Coordinator)
c/o Sion Hill Health Cente
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Sis. Ferosa Roache (Senior Nursing Officer)
Environmental Health Building
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
This is the first polyclinic to be constructed at Stubbs. This will be an intermediary between primary and secondary care facilities. The purpose of the establishment of this type of facility is to make health services more accessible to the rural population. It will provide services such as obstetrics, basic diagnostic (X-ray and Labs), ambulance, Counseling; paediatric, psychiatric and other medical consultations; dental, ophthalmology, pharmaceutical and physiotherapy.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Health Information System
The Ministry of Health and the Environment is currently installing an electronic Health Information System (HIS) with the aim of improving the delivery of health care in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The implementation of the HIS consists of the customization and operationalizing of a software package and the purchase of computer equipment for health care facilities throughout Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Work is also ongoing to network the health care facilities to facilitate inter-connectivity.
The sole aim of the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines HIS is to electronically integrate all the major service areas within the Ministry of Health and the Environment which would include modules such as:
The Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Health Information System (SVGHIS) has already been implemented and is being used at 36 facilities daily. The modules that are effectively functioning at these health centers are Electronic Health Records, Maternal Child Health, Clinician Order Entry, Supply Chain Management, HIV and Human Resources. Other modules, along with the remaining clinics, will be implemented soon.
Modern Medical Complex (Georgetown)
This is being constructed at a cost of over $20 million EC by the Governments of Cuba and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The Complex will be made up of a surgical, Dialysis and outpatient units. Services that will be provided upon completion include: Renal Dialysis for adults and children, Intensive Care, Endoscopy, Ophthalmology, Radiology, Ultrasound, Laboratory and General Medical and Surgical Consultations. It is expected to be completed in the first half of 2011.