Rural Communities and Disability

Study conducted in welfare clinic shows a high prevalence of developmental delays among children in Ghana. Researchers study the risk factors that may contribute to developmental delays (Bello et al., 2013)

What was the context of the research

In order to begin to take action against developmental delays and disorders in children, researchers must frequently collect data. Once researchers track data, they can identify the risk factors and symptoms. Once the symptoms and risk factors are identified, preventive measures can be taken to reduce the occurrence of the disorders. The concept of screening children for developmental delays is accepted worldwide, however rural communities in developing countries do not have programs implemented to track developmental delays. In a study by Bello et al., researchers set out to track and record the prevalence of developmental delays in children in a small community clinic in Ghana.

What were the methods of the research

This study consisted of 384 participants all under the age of five who were attending a welfare clinic in rural Ghana. The mothers were given a questionnaire that asked questions about their child’s gross motor skills, fine motor skills, communication skills, problem solving/cognition skills and social/personal interaction. The options for the answers included “yes” which was worth 10 points, “sometimes” worth five points, and “not yet,” worth zero points. The children’s scores were analyzed and categorized.

What did the study find

Developmental delays were found in a large portion of the children. 44.6% were found to experience some form of developmental delays. 12.4% had developmental delays in social/personal interaction and 14.1% were at risk. 5.8% experienced developmental delays in communication with 9.1% being at risk. Furthermore, significant relationships were found between a few risk factors and developmental delays. For instance, a lower birth weight of the child and shorter gestation periods were associated with developmental delays in communication. Additionally, maternal education and gestational periods were associated with developmental delays in gross motor functioning. 49.7% of the children were delivered through spontaneous vertex delivery, meaning that the birth was naturally induced, and the baby was delivered normally. 19.1% of the children were delivered before term.


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

This study identified risk factors for developmental delays such as birth weight, maternal education, and gestational period. By identifying certain risk factors, we can begin to take measures to combat these vulnerabilities. Additionally, the study exposes that developmental delays are prevalent among children in rural communities of developing countries. The high percentage of children with developmental delays in this welfare clinic in rural Ghana solidifies that more programs need to be implemented to track the prevalence of developmental delays in rural communities.



Developmental delays, Ghana, rural, children, social/personal interaction, communication, gross motor function



Bello, A., Quartey, J., Appiah, L. (12 August 2013). Screening for developmental delays among children attending a rural community welfare clinic in Ghana. BMC Pediatrics. Doi:10.1186/1471-2431-13-119.

Michael Arthur