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Uthabiti 1

Debriefing and Planning Workshop on Childcare and Child Health & Wellbeing

Nairobi: 7th May 2024

Nairobi County Early Childhood Education Development & Vocational Training, Social Services, Public Health & Gender sub sectors joined the  African Population Health and Research Center and Uthabiti Africa in a workshop that brought together professionals and passionate advocates of the welfare of our children and the future of our communities. The workshop focused on issues of childcare, child health, wellbeing, and the innovative use of neuro-imaging technology to study the impact of child care in Nairobi.
Uthabiti 6Chief Officer for Early Childhood Education Development and Vocational Training Ahmed Abdi, while addressing the workshop said “The care and nurturing of our children are among the most vital responsibilities we undertake. Each child’s health, well-being, and development shape the trajectory of our societies. Our exploration of neuro-imaging within childcare projects marks a profound step forward. By integrating this advanced technology, we can deepen our understanding of child development and tailor interventions with unprecedented precision. This intersection of medical science and childcare exemplifies the innovative spirit that drives progress in our field.”

Mr. Abdi said that even as we plan for all our advances, we must also confront the obstacles that impede our efforts. Whether logistical, financial, or systemic, challenges persist. Today, we must address these head-on, sharing insights and experiences to forge effective solutions. He said that this technology is new in many countries in Africa and a lot of sensitization and awareness will be needed to make parents guardians other stakeholders understand its importance.

Mr. Asayya Imaya from Uthabiti Africa outlined the organization’s partnership with Nairobi in developing Childcare Regulations.  He further shared the organization plans, detailing a comprehensive work plan spanning the next seven years. He said Uthabiti Africa’s Collaborative Action for Childcare, an initiative aimed at addressing childcare challenges through collaboration with various stakeholders, has engagements with county governments, including Kisumu, Nairobi, and Busia. He added that Uthabiti has data on at least 6000 unregistered childcare microenterprises, prompting the development of a strategic plan to formalize them.  Mr. Imaya said Uthabiti’s strategy is to promote decent and dignified jobs for women in childcare within Nairobi and that plans to certify childcare microenterprises in collaboration with NITA have been discussed, highlighting curriculum development’s importance.

Dr. Patricia Wekulo from APHRC presented the strategic plan (2022-2026) aimed at transforming lives in Africa through scientific knowledge. She gave a detailed background on the Neuroimaging Project, discussing the development of the brain during early and late life stages. She also presented on objectives, areas of focus of the study, and the status of the Neuro-imaging project as detailed below:

Objectives-Measure association between child stimulation and cognitive function using neuroimaging techniques. Understand community perceptions and acceptability towards brain imaging technique.

Dr. Patricia said the aim of this new study was to generate scientific knowledge, develop capacities, use research evidence, and engage policy action for transformative change, Strengthen operational efficiencies in systems and processes in programs.

The Chief Officer Public Health Michira Nyakaba assured support and collaboration during the study. He urged the players to ensure quality MRI machines for the study are procured so that they serve Nairobians after the study.

This debriefing and strategic planning is a step towards the right direction, we will identify key lessons learned and leverage our collective wisdom. At the same time, let us acknowledge where we have fallen short, recognizing that honest assessment is the first step toward meaningful improvement.

In attendance were Chief Officers Mr. George Mutiso, Social Services, Michira Nyakaba, Public Health, Ruth Owuor, Director Education Raphael Kinyungu Deputy Director Education, Jane Gichure Director Gender, Evans Mogire legal, representatives from APHRC and Uthabiti among others.

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