Assessment of the capacity of health facilities in the early detection of disabilities in children in the Brong Ahafo Region of Ghana

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November, 2016
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Advances in medical technology have improved on the health of many infants who have sustained injuries during intrauterine development or birth, giving them a better chance of improved quality of life. Nevertheless, some conditions still create overwhelming consequences causing lifelong disabilities. Many infants injured during the birth process or born with congenital anomalies have long term effects from their conditions. Their families may have long-term effects as well. There is therefore the need for early detection and prevention measures to curb the incidence of disabilities in newborns. This study is therefore aimed at assessing the capacity of health facilities to facilitate the early detection and intervention of disabilities in infants and children in order to prevent the debilitating effects of such disabilities on children. Findings confirmed that Pediatricians, midwives and other health professionals employed various techniques including physical examination or assessment to determine if they have any defect. They did this by listening to the cry of the newborn child, the color of the eye, the physical appearance of the baby, and the color of the skin. The findings of the study indicated that most of these examinations were conducted between the first hour and 48 hours after birth and detection usually occurred during this examination period. The results of the study also showed that most of the facilities lacked modern screening equipment. To improve on the effectiveness of health facilities to detect disabilities in newborns and infants, there is need to create a unit for early detection and treatment of disabilities in every health facility, provide enough screening tools and modern equipment for every unit/facility, and pregnant women should be encouraged to take antenatal care seriously.
A Thesis submitted to the Department of Community Health, College of Health Sciences In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science (Disability, Rehabilitation, and Development),.