Early Childhood Stimulation (ECS) is a study being conducted in 3 countries in Africa which are Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Swaziland. This research study is a collaborative effort being spearheaded by World Education. Mavambo Orphan Care is conducting the programming component whilst the Centre for Sexual Health and HIV AIDS Research (CeSHHAR) is conducting the research component.
The study is a result of global data that indicates that HIV positive babies have delayed growth milestones and development and as such need stimulation to enable them to “catch-up” with their HIV negative peers. To enable this, the program works with mother baby pairs with children up to a maximum of 2 years of age and the mothers go through 18 sessions on topics such as health, stimulation, toy making with local resources as well as economic strengthening. Mother baby pairs receiving such support fall under the intervention cluster of the research whilst another group of mother baby pairs who do not receive such assistance falls under the control component. At the end of the research, comparisons will be made to ascertain if there are differences between the two clusters.
The research started in Goromonzi District with 50 mother baby pairs. These mother baby pairs formed 5 ISAL groups. Preliminary results revealed that children showed a great improvement in their developmental milestones whilst mothers enjoyed the sessions. While ISAL on the other hand helped to improve households’ access to income. Main study has expanded to 10 new clinics in Goromonzi and 5 clinics in Mudzi district and 4 clinics have already rolled out in Goromonzi.