Prevalence of speech and language delay /disorders at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH)

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Speech and language are indispensable for sharing feelings, thoughts, and information with others and are therefore critical for human species. When communication is affected by means of speech and language disorder or delay, interaction with family and society as a whole becomes unpleasant and which may also affect both the health and educational progress of people living with such conditions. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD, 2008) requires countries to report statistical data about children with disabilities for planning purposes including development and access to inclusive education and proper health care for children in this bracket. However, in many low and middle income countries including Ghana, credible statistical data is not readily available, making it difficult to persuade governments and donors to invest adequately in this sector. On the basis of these, this study was conducted at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) in the Kumasi metropolis, Ashanti region, which is an important and historical location in the middle belt of Ghana to determine the prevalence of speech and language delay/disorder in the last three years (2015-2017) among 439 patients between 1 and 15 years of age who attended the Hospital (KATH); so as to provide a statistical data and pattern of speech and language disorders/delay among children in this age bracket. The study seeks to stimulate national discourse towards training of more speech and language therapists with the needed resources in major health facilities across the country. In this study, convenience sampling technique which is a type of non-probability was employed and a quantitative approach in research was adopted in the design of this work using the Records Unit of the Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Department of KATH as the source of data. Patients’ records were perused; carefully and appropriately entered into Excel worksheet. Prevalence i.e. rate and frequency of reported cases were found to be highest in 2017; with male patients being 48% more than the female patients in all 3 year data. The highest number of cases per milestone was recorded by 3.6 – 4 yr. age group for both 2015 and 2016 while in 2017, the highest cases was recorded by 2.6 – 3 yr. age group. The prevalence rates for the three years under review were 75% and 25% for speech delay/disorder and language delay/disorder respectively.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat, Kath, College of Health Sciences, School of Medical Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the award of Master of Science Degree in Speech and Language Pathology.
Speech and language delay, Disorder, KATH