Introduction: Lack of safe, stimulating and health promoting environments for children under-5 hinders their physical, social and cognitive development, known as early childhood development (ECD). Improving ECD impacts on children, and can improve educational attainment for girls, who often care for younger siblings, and employment prospects for mothers. Developing and evaluating the impacts of ECD programmes within childcare needs to assess a range of social, health, educational and economic impacts, including women’s empowerment. Children living in slums are at high risk of poor early development and holistic, sustainable interventions are needed to address ECD in these contexts. This study will be undertaken in Dhaka, Bangladesh, a city where over 8.5 million inhabitants live in slums. In collaboration with government, non-governmental organisations and communities, we are developing and testing a sustainable day-care model for low-income communities in Dhaka.

Methodology and analysis: A sequential mixed methods approach is being used in the study, with qualitative work exploring quantitative findings. Two hundred households with children under-5 will be surveyed to determine daycare needs and to assess ECD (parent-reported and direct assessment). The feasibility of four ECD measuring tools Caregiver-Reported Early Development Index, Measuring Early Learning Quality and Outcomes, The Early Human Capability Index and International Development and Early Learning Assessment will be assessed quantitatively and qualitatively. Qualitative methods will help understand demand and perceptions of day care while mothers work. Participatory action research will be used to develop a locally appropriate and potentially sustainable model of day care for under-5 children. A ward in the south of Dhaka has been selected for the study as this typifies communities with slum and non-slum households living next to each other, allowing us to explore potential for better-off household to subsidise day care for poorer households.

Ethics and dissemination: Findings will be published and inform decision makers at the national, regional and the local actors in order to embed the study into the policy and practice on childcare and ECD. Ethical approvals for this study were obtained from the School of Medicine Research Ethics Committee at the Faculty of Medicine and Health at the University of Leeds (ref: MREC16-106) and the Bangladesh Medical Research Council (ref: BMRCAIREC/20 I 6-20 I 9 I 250).


Global health, protocol, child care, day care, 1-4 year olds, Dhaka Bangladesh

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