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Maternal mental health and early childhood development in resource-constrained settings


The mental health of women during pregnancy and in the year after giving birth has been the subject of substantial research in high-income countries since the mid 1960’s. However, in the world’s resource-constrained low- and lower-middle-income countries it has only become the subject of research in recent years. This is partly because of the competing health priorities of reducing communicable diseases and pregnancy-related deaths. It was also slowed by arguments that traditional practices like giving women heightened postpartum care and relief from household tasks protects mental health and therefore that postpartum depression was not likely to occur. There is now evidence from 15% of the world’s resource-constrained countries, which suggests that this conclusion was inaccurate. Overall the common mental health problems of depression and anxiety occur in these settings at rates two to three times higher than those observed in high-income countries. The highest prevalence is among the poorest women with the least access to health services. 

There is increasing evidence that early childhood development is compromised if the primary caregiver is experiencing a mental health problem. The 2011 Lancet series on Early Childhood Development identified maternal mental health problems as one of the eight major determinants of developmental delay in young children in low-income settings. 

You are invited to attend the third Early Childhood Development web-based seminar(webinar) on the topic "Maternal mental health and early childhood development in resource-constrained settings" organized by ARNEC in collaboration with Save the Children. 

You may attend the webinar virtually from anywhere so long as you have access to the Internet. 

This web-based seminar(Webinar) will attempt to address the following issues and objectives: 

1. What is the current evidence about the nature, prevalence and determinants of perinatal mental health problems in women in resource-constrained countries? 
2. What are the proposed mechanisms by which maternal mental health influences early childhood development? 
3. What evidence-informed approaches are available to improve maternal mental health in resource-constrained settings? 

When: Friday, 30 March 2012 at 12.30 pm Singapore time
please adjust time according to your time zone (e.g. -2.5 hr for New Delhi, +3 hr for Sydney)

Duration: Approximately 45 minutes including Q/A

By: Professor Jane Fisher, School of Public Health and Preventative Medicine, Monash University, Australia

How: If you would like to attend the Webinar, please RSVP by Wednesday, 28 March 2012 to Kanitha Kongrukgreatiyos ( 

Note: A confirmation e-mail will be sent to those who RSVP’d and will include details on how to access the webinar and reading materials for your preparation on the 28th.