Document Type



Paediatrics and Child Health (East Africa); Brain and Mind Institute


The World Health Organization (WHO) defines disability as an umbrella term that covers impairments, activity limitations, and restrictions in participation (1). Disability is not considered a health problem, but rather an interaction between a person’s body functions and features of the environments in which they live (1). WHO report a higher prevalence of severe and moderate disabilities in Africa compared to other regions (1). The United Nations Children’s Fund (2021) provides a global estimate of 230 million children, ages 0–17 years, living with a disability with 28.9 million children found in Eastern and Southern Africa (2). More than half of these children live in rural settings and only about one third attend a primary school (1). Given the high birth rate of 22.6 births per 1,000 people in East Africa, and successful implementation of interventions that have significantly reduced the under-5 mortality rate in this region, the prevalence of childhood disability can only increase over time (3, 4). This is a pertinent current and future issue given that the estimated likelihood of a child having a disability before their fifth birthday is 10 times higher than the likelihood of dying (377.2 vs. 38.2 per 1,000 live births)

Publication (Name of Journal)

Frontiers in Public Health

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.