WEDNESDAY, June 17, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Overall, 11.2 percent of the 2.6 billion children and adolescents worldwide had one of the following in 2017: childhood epilepsy, intellectual disability, vision loss, or hearing loss, according to a study published online June 17 in Pediatrics.

Bolajoko O. Olusanya, M.B.B.S., Ph.D., from the Centre for Healthy Start Initiative in Lagos, Nigeria, and colleagues examined data from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017 on the prevalence of childhood epilepsy, intellectual disability, and vision or hearing loss and on years lived with disability (YLD).

The researchers found that in 2017, 11.2 percent of the 2.6 billion children and adolescents globally were estimated to have one of the four specified disabilities. With age, there was an increase in the prevalence of these disabilities, from 6.1 to 13.9 percent among children aged <1 year to adolescents aged 15 to 19 years. Overall, 94.5 percent lived in low- and middle-income countries, mainly South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. A total of 62.3 percent of all children and adolescents with disabilities were in the top 10 countries. These disabilities accounted for 28.9 million YLD, representing 19.9 percent of the overall YLD from all causes among children and adolescents.

“Now that the burden has been calculated, it is time to move to find a way to proactively identify and provide equitable care and opportunities for the millions of children living with disabilities throughout the world,” write the authors of an accompanying editorial.

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