Nigeria with Two Other Countries Leading with Prevalence of Developmental Disability in Children

Nigeria, India, and China have been identified as the top three leading contributors to the global prevalence of developmental disabilities in children
Nigeria, India, and China have been identified as the top three leading contributors to the global prevalence of developmental disabilities in children
Nigeria, India, and China have been identified as the top three leading contributors to the global prevalence of developmental disabilities in children, a new report shows. In a research sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and just published in the Lancet Global Health journal revealed that over 53 million children under the age of five worldwide had developmental disabilities in 2016. The research sponsored by the Global Research on Developmental Disabilities Collaborators (GRDDC) was conducted by experts in child disability from different world regions, supported by the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation, United States of America.
The experts defined developmental disabilities as a group of life-long health conditions affecting the ability of a child to develop, grow and function optimally. These conditions include hearing loss, vision loss, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, autism spectrum disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, learning disorders, intellectual disability and Down’s syndrome. The report specifically noted the top three leading contributors to the global prevalence of developmental disabilities were India, China and Nigeria. Besides, the report found that under-five mortality in sub-Saharan Africa declined by 20.8 per cent from 3.4 million in 1990 to 2.7 million in 2016. However, the number of children with epilepsy, intellectual disability, hearing and visual impairments, autism spectrum disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder alone rose by 71.3 per cent from 8.6 million in 1990 to 14.7 million in 2016.
In Nigeria, the report said, the number of children with developmental disabilities rose by two thirds (66.7 per cent) from 1.5 million in 1990 to 2.5 million in 2016. This figure is considered grossly under-estimated as it excludes children with birth defects and other developmental disabilities such as learning and communication disorders.
In addition, children with cerebral palsy without intellectual disability and those with developmental disabilities that cannot be associated with specific medical causes are also excluded. A global health expert and leader of GRDDC, Bolajoko Olusanya, in his reaction to the report describe the data as troubling.
She said when viewed against challenges usually encountered by children with disabilities and their families in developing countries like Nigeria, the report were worrisome.

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