Knowledge of developmental disabilities and referral sources among health workers in two Ghanaian hospitals

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International Journal of Developmental Disabilities


Proper treatment of developmental disabilities requires health workers to have adequate knowledge of etiology and referral procedures. There is a dearth of research on knowledge of developmental disabilities among health workers in Ghana. The purpose of this study was to document knowledge about developmental disorders, causes, and referral procedures among health workers. Researchers used a successive free-listing method to interview 37 health workers. Developmental disabilities which present with physical symptoms were the most salient disorders identified among health workers, while learning disabilities and attention deficit disorder were largely overlooked. The most commonly listed developmental disabilities were cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and autism spectrum disorder. Respondents had limited knowledge about the causes of and referral resources for developmental disabilities. Results show the need for continuing medical education, public awareness, and enhanced resources to support the identification and care of children with developmental disabilities in Ghana.