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BACKGROUND: There is little data on the burden of neurological impairment (NI) in developing countries, particularly in children of Africa. METHODS: We conducted a survey of NI in children aged 6-9 years in a rural district of Kenya. First, we screened for neurological disability by administering the Ten Questions Questionnaire (TQQ) to parents/guardians of children in a defined population. In phase two, we performed a comprehensive clinical and psychological assessment on children who tested positive on TQQ and on a similar number of children who tested negative. RESULTS: A total of 10 218 children were screened, of whom 955 (9.3%) were positive on TQQ. Of these, 810 (84.8%) were assessed, and of those who tested negative 766 (8.3%) were assessed. The prevalence for moderate/severe NI was 61/1000 [95% confidence interval (95% CI) 48-74]. The most common domains affected were epilepsy (41/1000), cognition (31/1000), and hearing (14/1000). Motor (5/1000) and vision (2/1000) impairments were less common. Of the neurologically impaired children (n = 251), 56 (22%) had more than one impairment. Neonatal insults were found to have a significant association with moderate/severe NI in both the univariate [odds ratio (OR) = 1.70; 95% CI 1.12-2.47] and multivariate analyses (OR = 1.30; 95% CI 1.09-1.65). CONCLUSIONS: There is a considerable burden of moderate/severe NI in this area of rural Kenya, with epilepsy, cognition, and hearing being the most common domains affected. Neonatal insults were identified as an important risk factor.

Original publication

DOI

10.1093/ije/dyl023

Type

Journal article

Journal

Int J Epidemiol

Publication Date

06/2006

Volume

35

Pages

683 - 688

Keywords

Child, Cognition Disorders, Developmental Disabilities, Epilepsy, Female, Hearing Disorders, Hospitalization, Humans, Kenya, Male, Nervous System Diseases, Population Surveillance, Prevalence, Risk Factors, Rural Health, Rural Population, Sex Distribution