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Developmental delay in the Amazon: The social determinants and prevalence among rural communities in Peru.

Developmental delay in the Amazon: The social determinants and prevalence among rural communities in Peru.
Author Information (click to view)

Westgard C, Alnasser Y,


Westgard C, Alnasser Y, (click to view)

Westgard C, Alnasser Y,

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PloS one 2017 10 1212(10) e0186263 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0186263
Abstract

The consequences of poor child development are becoming increasingly recognized. Programs are being put in place around the world to improve child development by providing healthy and stimulating environments for children. However, these programs often have limited reach and little is known about the prevalence of developmental delay in under-developed communities. The current study set-out to better understand the prevalence of developmental delay in rural communities in the Amazon region of Peru. Also, it explores social determinants that are associated with any delay. Cross-sectional study by evaluating developmental delay in children under 4 years utilizing Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ-3). Additionally, conducting a social determinants questionnaire answered by caretakers to identify social drivers for developmental delay. The data was analyzed with multi-variant analysis to measure association. The prevalence of developmental delay in the Amazonian communities was 26.7% (19.3% in communication, 11.4% in gross motor skills, 8% in both) (N = 596). The multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed significant associations between developmental delay and; level of education (OR 0.64, p = 0.009), age of mother during child’s birth (OR 0.96, p = 0.002), visits by community health agents (OR 0.73, p = 0.013), and river as primary water source (OR 2.39, p = 0.001). The social determinants questionnaire revealed that 39% of the mothers had their first child before the age of 17, nearly half stopped going to school before the age of 12 (52%), 29% gave birth at home, 13% breast fed for less than 7 months, and 50% of the children had diarrhea in the last month. There is still a great need to improve the conditions for child development in the Amazon region of Peru. One-fourth of the children suffer from developmental delay, which will likely impede their potentials for life unless something is done. The impact of education, age of mother at birth of the child, community health agents, and access to clean drinking water were important findings. Improvements can be made in these areas to create a large, cost-effective impact on the well-being of the communities.

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