Singhi P,

Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education And Research, Chandigarh- 160 012, INDIA


The main objective of assessment of child development in the community is to promote integrated child development. This is particularly needed in developing countries where majority live in rural areas, and hospitals are far and few. Comprehensive coverage of vulnerable age groups, use of local norms, easy reliable screening tools, family involvement, and follow up action are needed. The Integrated Child Development services is a large programme in India that aims to meet these needs. Launched in 1975, it covers over 75% of community Development Blocks, with 23 million children under 6years of age. Over 5,00,000 trained community based anganwadi workers with other supporting staff operate through the anganwadi centre, health system and the community. Traditionally growth and development assessment has been done with the help of monitoring  charts. Developmental milestones were added on to growth charts. However it has been found that often monitoring charts focus on wrong ages and become a ritual and an end by themselves rather than means to an end. Considerable time is involved in monitoring at the expense of interaction and counseling and there is minimal family involvement. Monitoring  by itself is not an intervention C it needs to be followed up with action oriented programmes. Implementation of socio-culturally appropriate developmental surveillance with family based education and community participation are required. A number of training programmes with the help of UNICEF and World Bank including Udisha are being envisaged o achieve this. The feasibility and practicality of such programmes and their monitoring and evaluation needs discussion. Whether the desired outcome is achieved is to be seen. Are there any indicators for assessing child development in the community? Considerable research is being undertaken in this direction. An ideal indicator for integrated child development is yet to be found.