Prevalence and risk factors of neurological disability and impairment in children living in rural Kenya.
Mung'ala-Odera V., Meehan R., Njuguna P., Mturi N., Alcock KJ., Newton CR.
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.