The social-economic and family background of the child with a CNS birth defect in a developing country in the current era

  • VI Joel-Medewase
  • AO Adeleye
Keywords: CNS birth defects, social-economic, family background, low-middle income countries.


Objectives: In much older literature many sociocultural factors militating against the optimal clinical / surgical care of CNS birth defects in the lowmiddle income countries (LMICs) were reported. We set out to interrogate this phenomenon in the current era
Methods: A retrospective crosssectional survey of a prospective data-base of the social-economic and family background of the children with CNS birth defects presenting for surgical care in a busy neurosurgical practice in Nigeria.
Results: There were 151 children, 81 males (53.6%), with hydrocephalus and neural tube closure defects (NTDs) seen in the study period; median age at presentation was at 4 weeks of life, the NTDs presenting much earlier than hydrocephalus, p-value< 0.001; each child represented the first of the parents in about a third of cases, and at least the 3rd or higher birth order in 40.4%. The parents were young adults, but the mean age of the fathers, 35.8years, was higher than the mothers’, 30.0years, p-value<0.001; the parents had low level of education and socioeconomic statuses; more than 90% had no knowledge about any preventive measures for CNS birth defects; and, in spite of their already sizeable families each, 56% of mothers, and 62% of the fathers were still gearing up for further pregnancies.
Conclusions: Coupled with the region’s well-known harsh health system, the socio-economic and family background of the child with CNS birth defects remain very challenging indeed in this typical developing country. This calls for concerted efforts to promote in the LMICs the adoption of the established measures of preventing CNS birth defects.

Keywords: CNS birth defects; social-economic, family background; low-middle income countries.


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eISSN: 0302-4660