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Prevalence and risk factors of neurological disability and impairment in children living in rural Kenya.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


  • Victor Mung'ala-Odera
  • R. Meehan
  • P. Njuguna
  • N. Mturi
  • Katie J. Alcock
  • C. R. Newton
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2006
<mark>Journal</mark>International Journal of Epidemiology
Number of pages6
<mark>Original language</mark>English


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.

Bibliographic note

0300-5771 (Print) Journal article