Early Intervention for Children at High Risk of Developmental Disability in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Narrative Review

Maya Kohli-Lynch*, Cally J. Tann, Matthew E. Ellis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article (Academic Journal)peer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
93 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

In low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), while neonatal mortality has fallen, the number of children under five with developmental disability remains unchanged. The first thousand days are a critical window for brain development, when interventions are particularly effective. Early Childhood Interventions (ECI) are supported by scientific, human rights, human capital and programmatic rationales. In high-income countries, it is recommended that ECI for high-risk infants start in the neonatal period, and specialised interventions for children with developmental disabilities as early as three months of age; more data is needed on the timing of ECI in LMICs. Emerging evidence supports community-based ECI which focus on peer support, responsive caregiving and preventing secondary morbidities. A combination of individual home visits and community-based groups are likely the best strategy for the delivery of ECI, but more evidence is needed to form strong recommendations, particularly on the dosage of interventions. More data on content, impact and implementation of ECI in LMICs for high-risk infants are urgently needed. The development of ECI for high-risk groups will build on universal early child development best practice but will likely require tailoring to local contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4449
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume16
Issue number22
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Nov 2019

Keywords

  • Developmental disability
  • Early childhood intervention
  • Low-and middle-income countries
  • Newborn

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