Mr. Darma Lal works in Drugyel Basic Health Unit (BHU) as a Health in charge. He got involved with the C4CD plus project after being appointed as a focal by theMinistry of Health (MOH) in mid-2017.
The C4CD Plus pilot project trained 13 Health Workers to deliver 12 group sessions and provide developmental milestones screening and counselling service in two pilot districts reaching about 322 caregivers and parents in 13 intervention sites. The 12 group sessions covered activities to provide early stimulation and ensure health &nutrition, safety & protection for0–3-year-old children. The developmental milestone screening and counselling service included early identification of children with developmental delays and counselling parents & caregivers of these children.
When asked what changes he noticed in the practices of caregivers with their children, Mr.Darma Lal said that since parents gained knowledge and skills through the session, it was easier for parents to teach their children.“Children have a tendency to listen more to their parents. For example, a child from MissiZamsa started wishingKuzuzang po la, each time he meets me. We wish parents and caregivers when they come for the session and teach wishing through songs.”
Another child, Pema, has opened up. “He has become more interactive and comfortable with other children. He started socializing and sharing things with other children. Pema was not like that when he came in the beginning. This is a positive change I can see in Pema.”
He continued, “With regard to parents in the beginning, I saw some parents spank and hit their kids in front of me when they are cranky, but now after attending the group sessions, gradually they stopped this behavior. Parents have become gentler with their children,” He said, “I feel happy to see parents understand the importance of early childcare and I feel a sense of achievement. Personally, I have gained a lot. Now I feel closer to the community and know every child closely.”
Mr.Darma Lal said that as a health worker he knew that early childcare is important but that has not practiced or taught the parents as much as he did through this project. “The activities are easy and doable. We can use locally available materials to teach. Moreover, children get exposed to the early stimulation games, and these will lead to proper child development. It provides opportunity for children’s wholesome development.”
A regular participant in the C4CD plus group session, Zam, said that her one-year-old child started writing (scribbling). “She turns pages when I read stories with her,” said, Zam, a parent registered at MissiZampa.
Another parent, Tashi Lham said, “My son likes outdoor activities and has started singing short songs/ rhymes. I make sure that I read and sing with my child as advised by the HA”.