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Prevalence and Chief Causes of Disability in Africa (Explanation of different forms of disabilities affecting children in Africa) Presentation made during.

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1 Prevalence and Chief Causes of Disability in Africa (Explanation of different forms of disabilities affecting children in Africa) Presentation made during the CSO Forum, March 2012, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia By Anthony Mwangi, UNICEF Liaison Office to the AU and UNECA 21 March 2012, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

2 Different forms of disabilities affecting children in Africa Mobility and Physical Impairments Upper and lower limb(s) disability. In-born or acquired through accident. Spinal Cord injury leading to lifelong disability. Head Injuries - Brain Disability The magnitude can range from mild, moderate and severe. Acquired Brain Injury: Degeneration occurs after birth. Traumatic Brain Injury: External forces applied to the body parts, resulting in emotional dysfunctioning and behavioral disturbance. Seizures due to sudden electrical discharge in the brain. Preventable and treatable, or hereditary.

3 Different forms of disabilities affecting children (Cont…) Vision Disability Some common vision impairments include, scratched cornea or other parts of the eye, diabetes related eye conditions, dry eyes, myopia, among others. Preventable and treatable, or may be hereditary. Hearing Disability Deafness can be evident at birth or occur later in life from several biologic causes. Meningitis can damage the auditory nerve. Preventable and treatable, or may be hereditary.

4 Different forms of disabilities affecting children (Cont…) Cognitive or Learning Disabilities Affects the ability to think, concentrate, formulate ideas, reason, remember, attention, processing, communication, reading, writing, spelling, calculation, coordination, social competence and emotional maturity. Caused by problems in one more of the central nervous system processes involved in perceiving, understanding and/or using concepts through verbal (spoken or written) language or nonverbal means. Cognitive and learning impairments, such as autistic disorder, speech disorders, Down’s syndrome, dyslexia (reading challenge).

5 Different forms of disabilities affecting children (Cont…) Cognitive or Learning Disabilities (Cont…) Powers of comprehension, information processing abilities are affected to the point where it affects the child’s ability to perform. Children intellectually challenged for a good part of their lives. Preventable and treatable. Psychological Disorders Mental health impairment and psychiatric problems or illness. Inadequate and erratic behavior that affects day-to-day activities. Preventable and treatable.

6 Different forms of disabilities affecting children (Cont…) Disease-related Disabilities Cerebral palsy caused by malaria. Immunisation-related disabilities - Poliomyelitis, Leprosy, Measles, TB, Mumps, etc. Nutrition - Children are disabled as a result of chronic nutritional deficiency (stunting, underweight, wasting). Preventable and some are treatable. Disabilities through conflicts, natural and manmade disasters Disabilities are normally physical in nature. Landmines and unexploded ordnance. Left behind during fires, floods, conflicts, quakes, etc. Preventable and but most not treatable.

7 Different forms of disabilities affecting children (Cont…) Disabilities through birth Lack of oxygen (Asphyxia) during birth, due to absence of a skilled health professional results in cerebral palsy and learning difficulties. Maternal iodine deficiency leads to children born with mental disabilities. Vitamin A deficiency leads to children born blind. Pregnant mothers need to exercise proper diet and healthy living, no exposure to hazardous pesticides and employment, pollutants, drugs intake, alcohol, etc. Preventable and not treatable.

8 Different forms of disabilities affecting children (Cont…) Disabilities through violence FGM procedure at birth or as young girls, leads to mobility difficulties, impaired sexual function and infertility because of infection, to increased risk of HIV infection. Domestic violence or child labour-related injuries due to dangerous working conditions. Preventable and treatable.

9 Concluding Reflections Definition: Article 1 of the CRPD states: “Persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments, which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.” Poverty causes disability through malnutrition, poor health care and dangerous living conditions, lack of access to services, etc. Children with disabilities more likely to die young, or neglected. Disabilities in children are preventable, and unfortunately, though some disabilities are treatable, children do not access treatment. Disabilities of girl children are most pronounced. UNICEF’s “The State of the World’s Children Report-2013” will focus on Children with Disabilities. Quote: “Disability is not inability.”

10 Thank You


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