Access to Pediatric Neurology training and services worldwide: A survey by the International Child Neurology Association

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Paediatrics and Child Health (East Africa)


Pediatric neurology is the medical subspecialty responsible for diagnosing and managing diseases and disorders of the nervous system in childhood and adolescence. In many, but not all, regions of the world the discipline of pediatric neurology is recognized as a specialty or subspecialty of either Neurology or Pediatrics. Significant knowledge and competencies in this area are necessary to be effective in clinical practice. The need for this is driven by the high burden of disease from neurological conditions in children and the impact on their families.

As the first part of a multi-staged project under the auspices of the International Child Neurology Association, in collaboration with key stakeholders, a survey was undertaken to establish which countries have practicing child neurologists. For those countries that have child neurologists, the survey established the number of practitioners, and which countries have access to in-country child neurology training.

Responses were obtained from 177 countries. Worldwide there is a median of 0.07 and mean of 0.39 child neurologists per 100 000 population. The greatest deficits in child neurology specialists and access to training were evident in countries which fell under the world bank rating of low income country status (range of 0 to 0.008 child neurologists per 100 000 population). Seventy-three percent of low income countries lack access to child neurologists: the majority are in the African and South-East Asia Regions. For the population of 1.37 billion in the continent of Africa there were 324 child neurologists, equating to median 0.01 per 100 000 population in comparison to a median of 0.59 child neurologists per 100 000 across high income countries. Ninety-four countries had capacity to support in-country pediatric neurology training.

Worldwide there are inadequate numbers of child neurologists and great need for increased training capacity.

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