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Some thoughts from the local organiser of the EASPD’s annual conference “Growing together”

EASPD is organising an Annual Conference in Chisinau, Moldova, with the cooperation of local associations working in the disability sector and providing early childhood intervention (ECI) services. Here you can read an interview with Dr. Ivan Puiu, who contributed to the set-up of the first early-childhood intervention centre in the Republic of Moldova, on the importance of holding such a conference and the state of play of ECI services in Moldova. Dr. Puiu will take the floor during EASPD conference and is the local organiser of study visit on the 20th April.

 

Why is it important to organise a conference on the topic of early childhood intervention in Moldova? What is the state of play of ECI in the country? What are you expectations regarding the conference and its potential impact on the further development of high quality ECI services in Moldova?
Organising such an international conference in Moldova is without a doubt a very important event for multiple reasons. By bringing together high-level experts in the early childhood intervention field, the conference will raise awareness about the importance of developing ECI services at national level and will hopefully reduce the number of “ECI-sceptics”. The legislative framework in Moldova (specifically Law No.60 regarding the social inclusion of persons with disabilities) which came into force on 1st of January 2013, stipulates in Article 44 that children with disabilities and their families have the right to benefit from early intervention services which should be adapted to their needs and carried out in a family-centred and community-based environment by qualified staff.

"Every year, approximately one thousand children with disabilities are born and there are at least three to four thousand children with disabilities aged 0 to 3 who do not have access to this type of services"

Nevertheless, there are thousands of children who are waiting for this “promise” made by the national government to come true. Every year, approximately one thousand children with disabilities are born and there are at least three to four thousand children with disabilities aged 0 to 3 who do not have access to this type of services. This is obviously a serious violation of the right of children and families to benefit from services adapted to their needs. In this case, families have the right to address the European Court of Human Rights for the violation of a fundamental right entitled to them and their children by the Moldovan legislation.

 

It is absolutely distressing to see how early-childhood intervention services are not being properly carried out in the country despite numerous positive factors. These include, among others, the existing regulations and legislative frameworks related to the set-up such services, the sufficient experience and knowledge which could be transferred in the field (such as the 12-year experience of “Voinicel” centre), the existing guidelines in carrying out such services (including a manual on early-childhood intervention published in 2012) and the estimated costs which are not that high in implementing such services.

 

Therefore, I truly hope that the EASPD conference will echo in the right directions and help trigger reforms in the health and social field towards the creation of high-quality ECI services services.

 

Biography

Dr. Ivan Puiu is a medical doctor (PhD) and associate professor at the State Medical and Pharmaceutical University “Nicolae Testemiţanu” in Chisinau, Moldova, the Department of General Practice. After specializing in paediatrics in 1981, he began his medical career in Tiraspol, the second largest city in Moldova where he worked until 1988. From 1988 up until 1990 he continued his post-graduate studies at the Institute of Advanced Medical Studies in Kiev, Ukraine where he further specialized in paediatrics, tropical diseases and foreign languages (French and English). He started working in 1990 at the department of Paediatrics Semiology at the State Medical and Pharmaceutical University “Nicolae Testemiţanu” in Chisinau and in 1996 he was transferred to the department of General Practice where he still works today. He contributed to the set-up of the first early-childhood intervention centre in the Republic of Moldova and in 2003 he became the president of the “Voinicel” centre (www.voinicel.md). In 2008 he published his PhD dissertation entitled Elaboration of the model of early intervention services for children with disabilities in Republic of Moldova. He is the author of more than 150 scientific papers which include The general practitioner’s practical guide (2003 – 533 pages); Children with disabilities. Development and Behavioural aspects (2004, 256 pages); Children with disabilities and children at risk – early intervention (2006, second part - 256 pages); Early intervention services for children with disabilities and children at risk (2006 -192 pages), etc. He is a member of the European Academy of Children with Disabilities, the European Association for Health Information and Libraries, The European Academy of Teachers in General Practice. Throughout the years, he attended various specialized trainings and congresses in the field of early intervention in Thailand, Austria, SUA, Finland, France, Turkey and so on.
 

Registration and practical information on the anual conference "Growing Together"