Piloting a Developmental Screening Tool Adapted for East African Children

Mollika A. Sajady, Christopher J. Mehus, Emily C. Moody, Ericka G. Jaramillo, Ezekiel Mupere, Andrew J. Barnes, Sarah E. Cusick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is a need for developmental screening that is easily administered in resource-poor settings. We hypothesized that known risk factors would predict failed developmental screening on an adapted screening tool in East African children living in poverty. The sample included 100 healthy Ugandan children aged 6–59 months. We adapted a parent-reported developmental screener based on the Child Development Review chart. The primary outcome was failure to meet age-appropriate milestones for any developmental domain. Venous blood was analyzed for lead, and caregivers completed a demographics questionnaire. We used multivariate logistic regression models to determine if elevated blood lead and stunting predicted failure on the screener, controlling for maternal education level, age in months past the lower bound of the child’s developmental age group, and absence of home electricity. In the sample, 14% (n = 14) of children failed one or more milestones on the screener. Lead levels or stunting did not predict failing the screener after controlling for covariates. Though this tool was feasibly administered, it did not demonstrate preliminary construct validity and is not yet recommended for screening in high-risk populations. Future research should include a larger sample size and cognitive interviews to ensure it is contextually relevant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This study was funded by a University of Minnesota School of Medicine Innovation Award (to SEC) and by the Doris Duke International Clinical Research fellowship (to EGJ). A grant (#2-T73MC12835–03-00) from the Maternal & Child Health Bureau (MCHB) of the US Department of Health and Human Services awarded to the University of Minnesota also supported the research contributions of M.A.S. and A.J.B.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Child health
  • Development
  • Developmental risk
  • Global health
  • Lead exposure
  • Milestones
  • Pediatrics
  • Poverty
  • Screening
  • Stunting

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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