Open Access Open Badges Research article

Screening for developmental delay among children attending a rural community welfare clinic in Ghana

Ajediran I Bello*, Jonathan NA Quartey and Louisa A Appiah

Author Affiliations

Department of Physiotherapy, School of Allied Health Sciences, College of Health Sciences, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana

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BMC Pediatrics 2013, 13:119  doi:10.1186/1471-2431-13-119

Published: 13 August 2013



Periodic screening for developmental delays (DD) could avert the incidence of disability among children. However, such routine programme is yet to take off in rural welfare clinics in Ghana.


Mothers of under-5 children who were attending rural child welfare clinic participated in this study. The socio-demographic data of the mothers and their children were recorded. The children were screened to assess their gross motor skills, fine motor skills, communication skills, problem solving/cognition and social/personal interaction using Ages and Stages Questionnaire. Score below the threshold points on a developmental domain defines DD for a child. Data analysis involved percentages and frequency while Chi-square was performed to determine the associations between the selected socio-demographic risk factors and DD. Alpha value was set at pā€‰<ā€‰0.05.


Three hundren and thirty (330) children were screened and majority 60(18%), were found within the age range 3 months 1 day to 5 months 0 day. 251(76%) had normal weight (2.5 kg-3.5) while 26(7.6%) were underweight (<2.5 kg). Generally, 147(44.6%) of the children had DD in the different domains of the questionnaires. 41(12.4%) had DD in social/personal interaction while 19(5.8%) were delayed in the communication domain. Birth weight and duration of gestation were significantly associated with communication domain while the level of education of the mothers and duration of gestation were significantly associated with gross motor domain.


An appreciable proportion of the children were found to experience developmental delays and the most prevalent occurence was in personal/social interaction. Birth weight, gestational age and maternal educational level provide insight into a link with communication and gross motor skills.