Caregivers' estimate of early childhood developmental status in rural Uganda: A cross-sectional study

Emmanuel Bonney, Michele Villalobos, Jed Elison, Sooyeon Sung, Adaeze Wosu, Charles Ssemugabo, George Pariyo, Dan Kajungu, Elizeus Rutebemberwa, Adnan A. Hyder, Dustin Gibson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective To characterise developmental milestones among young children living in rural communities in Uganda. Design Cross-sectional study. Setting Iganga-Mayuge Health and Demographic Surveillance Site in rural eastern Uganda. Participants A total of 720 caregivers of children aged 3-4 years old from a health and demographic surveillance site in rural eastern Uganda were recruited into this study. Caregivers reported on their child's developmental skills and behaviours using the 10-item Early Childhood Development Index (ECDI) developed by UNICEF. Childhood development was characterised based on the ECDI's four domains: literacy-numeracy, learning/cognition, physical and socioemotional development. As an exploratory analysis, we implemented a hierarchical agglomerative cluster analysis to identify homogenous subgroups of children based on the features assessed. The cluster analysis was performed to identify potential subgroups of children who may be at risk of developmental problems. Results Between November 2017 and June 2018, 720 caregivers of children aged 3-4 years completed the ECDI. The proportions of children at risk of delay in each domain were as follows: literacy-numeracy: 75% (n=538); socioemotional development: 22% (n=157); physical: 3% (n=22); and cognitive: 4% (n=32). The cluster analysis revealed a three-cluster solution that included 93% of children assigned to a low-risk group, 4% assigned to a moderate-risk group and 3% assigned to a high-risk group characterised by low scores in almost all domains. Conclusion The findings suggest that a high proportion of children in rural eastern Uganda demonstrate poor literacy-numeracy skills. These results underscore the need to improve population-based screening and intervention efforts to improve early childhood developmental outcomes, particularly in literacy and socioemotional domains, in low-income and middle-income countries such as Uganda.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere044708
JournalBMJ open
Volume11
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 22 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding This work was made possible by a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (R21 TW010415) to DG and AAH. Research reported in this publication was also supported by the Fogarty International Center (FIC) of the NIH under grant number D43TW009345 awarded to the Northern Pacific Global Health Fellows Program. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH. The funders had no role in study design, data collection, analysis, data interpretation or the writing of the report.

Publisher Copyright:
©

Keywords

  • epidemiology
  • paediatric neurology
  • paediatrics
  • public health

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Caregivers' estimate of early childhood developmental status in rural Uganda: A cross-sectional study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this