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The Increasing Global Burden of Childhood Disability: A Call for Action

Abstract
Over the past 20 years, there have been tremendous reductions in early childhood mortality, largely stimulated by the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.1 With improved survival, the sustainable development goals (SDGs) shift focus to “ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being at all ages” and endeavor toward disability inclusiveness around the world, with equal access to health care and education.2 Olusanya et al,3 in their article in this month’s issue of Pediatrics, offer a sobering look at the global burden of childhood disabilities, estimating that >1 in 10 (291.2 million) children and adolescents are affected by epilepsy, intellectual disability, vision loss, or hearing loss. This is notably higher than previous estimates and likely still underrepresents the true burden of childhood disability from other conditions not included in this analysis, such as developmental delay or cerebral palsy.

These data from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017 are important for several reasons. First, the authors of the study provide an objective and carefully measured estimate of childhood disability, which is not often included among commonly reported global health metrics.

More information

Type
Journal Article
Author
Vawter-Lee M
McGann PT
Year of Publication
2020
Journal
Pediatrics
Number of Pages
e20201119
Language
eng
ISSN Number
0031-4005, 1098-4275
DOI
10.1542/peds.2020-1119
Publication Language
eng

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