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Childhood Disability in Rural Niger
A Population-based Assessment Using the Key Informant Method. BMJ Pediatrics

Lena Morgon Banks, Jing Liu, Anne Kielland, Ali Bako Tahirou, Abdoul Karim Seydou Harouna, Islay Mactaggart, Ragnhild Dybdahl, Dan Firoun Mounkaila, Arne Grønningsæter

BMJ Pediatrics 2021

Open access

Forskere på Fafo: Anne Kielland, Arne Backer Grønningsæter, Jing Liu

Prosjekt: Inclusive education for children with a disability in the Sahel

Background: Data on childhood disability is essential for planning health, education and other services. However, information is lacking in many low- and middle-income countries, including Niger. This study uses the Key Informant Method, an innovative and cost-effective strategy for generation population-based estimates of childhood disability, to estimate the prevalence and causes of moderate/severe impairments and disabling health conditions in children of school-going age (7-16 years) in the Kollo department of western Niger.

Methods: Community-based key informants were trained to identify children who were suspected of having the impairment types/health conditions included in this study. Children identified by key informants were visited by paediatricians and underwent an assessment for moderate/severe vision, hearing, physical and intellectual impairments, as well as epilepsy, albinism and emotional distress.

Results: 2,561 children were identified by key informants, of whom 2191 were visited by paediatricians (response rate = 85.6%). Overall, 597 children were determined to have an impairment/health condition, giving a prevalence of disability of 11.4 per 1000 children (10.6- 12.2). Intellectual impairment was most common (4.9 per 1000), followed by physical (4.9 per 1000) and hearing impairments (4.7 per 1000). Many children had never sought medical attention for their impairment/health condition, with health-seeking ranging from 40.0% of children with visual impairment to 67.2% for children with physical impairments.

Conclusion: The Key Informant Method enabled the identification of a large number of children with disabling impairments and health conditions in rural Niger, many of whom have unmet needs for health and other services.

Childhood Disability in Rural Niger