Improving Maternal Child and Adolescent Health

Disability & Chronic Disease



Childhood disability and chronic disease pose major public health challenges with an estimated 93 million children aged 0-14 years suffering from moderate or severe disability globally. Healthcare provision and the overall quality of life of children with disability are often poor in low and middle income countries (LMICs). Globally 85% of children with disabilities live in LMICs, but only about 5% of these children receive any rehabilitation services.

Recent reductions in under-5 mortality as part of the Millennium Developmental Goals (MDGs), have been accompanied by an increase in childhood disability (e.g. cerebral palsy). Yet research into the needs of this rapidly growing childhood population is insufficient, and the availability of early diagnosis and appropriate intervention remains limited. A comprehensive understanding of the incidence, prevalence, aetiology and prevention strategies (including early diagnosis and intervention) is needed to reduce the global burden of childhood disability.

The “Disability and Chronic Disease” research theme aims to generate high-quality evidence that will inform better policy and practice to support children with disability and chronic disease. Our research program is in line with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), and should benefit regional partners by building research capacity, providing a better epidemiological understanding of disability and chronic diseases, and improving the quality of life of affected children by enabling early detection and effective intervention. You are welcome to join our research community.


Theme Leaders


Nadia Badawi

Elizabeth Elliott

Gulam Khandaker


Exemplar Projects

Bangladesh Cerebral Palsy Register (BCPR): towards developing a national cerebral palsy (CP) register and surveillance of children with CP

BCPR is the first population based surveillance of children with CP in a low and middle income country to facilitate studies on the prevalence, severity, causes, associated impairments and risk factors for cerebral palsy in Bangladesh(1). To date, the BCPR project has collected data on over 1500 children with CP in rural Bangladesh. The data collected will help inform ongoing research and service development in various areas including quality of life, nutritional status(2) and disability, impacts of early diagnosis and intervention programs. BCPR was a World Cerebral Palsy Day Award winner(3) in 2017.

Hospital based-surveillance of cerebral palsy (CP) in Hanoi using the Paediatric Active Enhanced Disease Surveillance mechanism (PAEDS-Vietnam): a study towards developing hospital-based disease surveillance in Vietnam

The epidemiology, pathogenesis, management and outcomes of CP Vietnam are unknown because of the lack of mechanisms for standardised collection of data. In collaboration with National Children’s Hospital, Hanoi and Hanoi Medical University, PAEDS-Vietnam study aims to develop a hospital-based surveillance system to define the aetiology, motor function and its severity, associated impairments, and nutritional and rehabilitation status of children with CP in Hanoi, Vietnam(1). These essential baseline data will inform future health service planning, health professional education and training, and family support.

Improving early detection and intervention for young infants at high risk of neurodevelopmental delay and disability in Uganda

This is a randomised-controlled trial, which aims to evaluate whether a facilitated, community-based, participatory early intervention programme (known as ABAaNA EIP) is more effective than current standard care practices in improving the functioning, nutritional status and quality of life of infants with neurodisability and their caregivers. 126 infants will be recruited from two separate sites and randomised to early intervention programme or standard care. Infants who receive standard care will be offered the early intervention programme at the end of the data collection period.



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International Linkages

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