Social factors may influence early childhood development

Study finds social factors that jeopardize a child’s health. Identification of these risk factors allows medical professionals and parents to take preventative measures  (Quansah et al., 2016).

What was the context of the research

As children grow, the social factors they are exposed to have a profound effect on their development. When these exposures are negative, they can adversely affect the child's health. Therefore, it is important to identify these social factors, in order to take preventative measures. The World Health Organization (WHO) implemented a plan to reduce child mortality in Ghana by 2015. However, these goals were not met. Quanasah et al, set out to analyze what social factors led to the inability of Ghana to reduce child mortality.

What were the methods of the research

Quansah et al., searched for published, peer-reviewed journals on the effects of social factors on child mortality in Ghana. In the end, they reviewed 34 journals. The criteria for selecting the journals was that they had to report on social detriments of children's health, they had to have been conducted in Ghana or on Ghana, and the data could not have been collected earlier than May 30, 2015.

What did the study find

It was found that the main social detriments to health were maternal education, disparities between rural and urban populations, wealth and poverty, and high dependence. Lower maternal education, living in a rural community, being in poverty, and children that were in larger families had an increase in adverse health outcomes.

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

In order to improve the health of children in Ghana, it is important to identify what makes children more vulnerable than others to experience adverse health outcomes. In the past, there have been laws implemented that attempt to combat these vulnerabilities, however, child mortality and morbidity are still not improving. This study highlights that policies need to be implemented to help reduce the risks children face.

Keywords

Development, maternal education, Ghana, social detriments, rural populations, poverty

Links

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1446363/

Citation

Quansah, E., Ohene, L. A., Norman, L., Mireku, M. O., & Karikari, T. K. (2016). Social Factors Influencing Child Health in Ghana. PloS one, 11(1), e0145401. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0145401. 

Michael Arthur