Sociocultural issues and causes of cerebral palsy in Port Harcourt, Nigeria
Background: Cerebral palsy (CP) is a common neurological disorder of childhood with significant neurological complications and associated comorbidities. The aim of this study was to determine the socio- cultural characteristics and causes of CP in children who presented to the Paediatric neurology clinic in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Method: Hospital records of 834 children with CP who presented between 1 June 2008 and 1 June .2010 were reviewed Demographic data were extracted and a validated socio-economic classification of parents was used. Data was analyzed using SPSS version 15 software. Results: of the 2,288 patients with neurological disorders seen. 834 had cerebral palsy giving a prevalence of 36.45%. Theirages ranged from 5 months to 13 years. Socio-economic stratification of the patients showed concentration in the lower socioeconomic groups IV (35.73%) andV(56.35%). Majority of the children 668 (80.09%) had spastic CP. Eighty seven (10.43%) had hypotonic and 57 (6.83%) extrapyramidal types, the mixed type 22 (2.64%) was the least common. Asphyxia (27.94%), kernicterus (26.26%) and Central Nerves System infections (15.95%) were the leading identified causes. Co-morbidities such as seizures, microcephaly and speech and auditory deficits were present in majority of the subjects. Seizures and microcephaly were commoner among CP cases associated with asphyxia than those associated with kernicterus. Conclusion: Cerebral palsy was commoner amongst those in low socio-economic status with perinatal problems. Improved perinatal care will reduce the burden of CP. Continuing training of health workers and traditional birth attendants are essential.
Keywords: Cerebral palsy, Social cultural issues, Port Harcourt.