58.4% increase in prevalence of disability in Ghana

Study shows the prevalence of children living with disabilities has increased between 1990 and 2016. (Olusanya et al., 2018)

What was the context of the research

In 2015, the United Nations created a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to track early childhood development globally. Information on developmental disabilities is scarce in developing countries, so Olusanya et al., set-out to gain insight on the prevalence and global burden of developmental delays in children.

What were the methods of the research

The researchers analyzed data on children aged 0-5 and their developmental delays from a pool of primary sources. These primary sources included peer-reviewed journals, health surveys, hospital databases, cohort studies, and disease-specific registries. The research was collected globally and included Ghana. The researchers compared data from 1990 to 2016. Years Lived with Disability (YLDs) were used as a measurement for the burden of the disability specifically for epilepsy, intellectual disability, hearing loss, vision loss, autism spectrum disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

What did the study find

The study found that globally, Ghana ranked number four in prevalence for epilepsy in children in both 1990 and 2016.

Ghana is ranked #4 in the prevalence of Epilepsy, Globally

Additionally, the study proved that there has been little improvement in regard to early childhood development. Between 1990 and 2016 there was 54.8% increase of children living with disabilities in Ghana, from 241,529 in 1990 to 373,912 cases in 2016.


What were the conclusions of the study/what do they recommend

This study shows that there has not been an improvement in early childhood development since 1990, globally. Importantly, Ghana's prevalence of developmental delays in children 0-5 has increased from 1990. This brings awareness to the fact that there is not enough attention or resources being invested in early childhood development in Ghana.


Epilepsy, Autism, ADHD, Ghana, Sustainable Development Goals, Early Childhood Development, YLD




Olusanya, B., et al. (29 August 2018). Developmental disabilities among children younger than 5 years in 195 countries and territoties, 1990 - 2016: A systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016. The Lancet Global Health, 6(10). Doi:10.1016.s2214-109x(18)30309-7.

Michael Arthur