Disability in the Central Region, Ghana

Researchers find the prevalence of disability among children  in the Central Region, Ghana and analyze the risk factors of the development of disabilities.

What was the context of the research

Many children in Ghana suffer from developmental delays and disorders. However, these developmental disorders may be overlooked, because awareness of these disorders is limited. Lack of research in low-middle-income countries results in a lot of children with developmental delays and disabilities going undiagnosed and untreated. Social stigma around these disabilities may result in the children being marginalized, in addition to suffering from a disability. Biritwum et al., studied the prevalence of children with disabilities in Ghana. In addition to finding the prevalence, the researches explored the feelings of discrimination experienced by children with disabilities and some of the risk factors of developmental delays.


What were the methods of the research?

The study was conducted in the Central Region of Ghana and consisted of 2,556 children under the age of fifteen. The children were observed, and the type of disorders was recorded. Some examples of disorders recorded were; poliomyelitis, epilepsy, mental retardation, difficulties with hearing and speech, kyphosis, hydrocephalus, and extensive facial scars.

What did the study find

Biritwum et al., found that 1.8% of the children suffered from disabilities. Additionally, the study found that female children had a higher prevalence of disability than male children. Other risk factors were identified, such as living in a rural community, lack of immunizations, and lack of formal education. There were differences in the percentages of children with disabilities, based on age. The rate of children between the ages of 1-5 with disabilities was 14.4 per 1,000 children, between the ages of 6-9 was 16.6 per 1,000, and for children 10-15 the rate was 3.7 per 1,000. Additionally, 30% of children with disabilities reported facing discrimination, especially female children.


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

This study identifies that lack of formal education, living in a rural community, and failing to vaccinate children may result in the development of disabilities. Biritwum et al., also stresses that educating the community on disabilities is important to prevent discrimination of children with the disabilities.


Disabilities, Ghana, prevalence, discrimination, immunization




Biritwum, R.B., Devres, J.P., Ofosu-Amaah, S., Marfo, C., Essah, E.R. (1 July 2001). Prevalence of children with 

disabilities in central region, Ghana. West African Journal of Medicine, 20(3), 249-255.