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Paris, France, UNESCO, 2006. Background paper prepared for the Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2007: Strong Foundations: Early Childhood Care and Education. 86 p. (2007/ED/EFA/MRT/PI/17)Before children reach school age they must negotiate threats from a number of diseases. More than 50% of child deaths are caused by pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria, measles, malnutrition and HIV. Health and nutrition can affect education in many ways. In resource-poor countries, physical and mental disability can be a major barrier to schooling. This can result from iodine or folate deficiency or rubella infectious in utero or from cerebral malaria, polio or meningitis infections postnatally. Malaria infection, undernutrition and orphanhood can influence the likelihood and timing of enrolment. School readiness depends on cognitive, motor and socio-emotional development which can be affected by, among other things, undernutrition, iron deficiency anemia and malaria. There is clear evidence of the benefits of preschool health and nutrition interventions to tackle these three conditions, with economic returns to $1 spent estimated at $3 for nutritional supplementation and $14 for iron supplementation. For malnourished children, psychosocial stimulation can be as effective as nutritional supplementation in compensating for delayed cognitive development. In general, interventions in this age group have substantial and consistent effects on development and education which are generally larger than for school-age children. Effects are seen in all dimensions of school readiness -- cognitive, motor and socioemotional development -- but are perhaps greatest for motor development. The interventions are highly cost-effective compared with other educational interventions. They also have a greater impact on the most disadvantaged children and can help to promote equity in educational outcomes. Early childhood health and nutrition interventions have the potential to make a major contribution to achieving Education for All. (author's)
VACCINE WEEKLY. 1994 Dec 19; 12-3.According to a United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) report, which evaluated progress toward fulfillment of the 29 recommendations of the Childhood Pact signed in 1993 by 22 of Brazil's 27 provincial governors, large-scale vaccination programs have been successful while attempts to improve education have not. The pact covered the rights of children and adolescents, the reduction of infant mortality, and improved health and education services. Massive vaccination efforts have eradicated polio from Brazil and reduced measles from 23,000 cases in 1992 to 124 cases in 1993 and 14 cases, to date, in 1994. However, 77% of primary school students are over the expected age for their educational level; plans to increase literacy among adolescents who lack primary education were frustrated, and teacher's strikes in many states cut into their time with students. In 1993, classes were suspended in 10 states to protest poor salaries and a lack of respect for teachers, another issue to be addressed by the pact. Provision of lunches for at least 180 days of the year in order to prevent malnutrition and boost school attendance in the poorest areas was also in the pact, but 17 of the 22 states which signed the pact have yet to do implement lunch programs. UNICEF, the executive secretary of the pact, has released a document, "Expectations for 1995-1998," suggesting renewal of the pact in combination with other measures to ensure the survival and development of Brazil's children.