Infections of the Central Nervous System and Child Development in Sub-Saharan Africa

Document Type

Book Chapter


Institute for Human Development


Abstract: Infectious diseases contribute significantly to child mortality in Africa; however, mortality rates only represent part of the problem. Among those who survive, cognitive, educational, and behavioral impairments have been reported. In the current chapter, I highlight the neurocognitive deficits, mental health problems, and poor educational outcomes associated with exposure to infectious diseases early in life. Special attention is paid to outcomes of HIV-infected children and children exposed to malaria. The chapter concludes by highlighting two approaches to intervention that have been observed to remediate some of the adverse effects of exposure to infections. Given the prevalence of infectious diseases in the African context, there are huge adverse effects and loss in human potential associated with childhood infectious diseases; identifying points of interventions and implementing evidence-based intervention for children infected with these conditions need to be a priority for applied developmental sciences.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Handbook of Applied Developmental Science in Sub-Saharan Africa