The report for the COSECSA Oxford Orthopaedic Link (COOL) Key Informant Method (KIM) study - an epidemiology study on prevalence of childhood disability in Malawi - has been published this week. Community volunteers, the Key Informants, were trained to identify children with disabilities who were then screened by medical professionals and referred for appropriate health and rehabilitation interventions. The aim was to use the KIM to estimate the prevalence of moderate / severe physical, sensory and intellectual impairments and epilepsy among children in two districts (Ntcheu and Thyolo) in Malawi.
One of the conclusions from the summary report is that in addition to providing data on child disability that can be used for advocacy and to inform planning, KIM also has an important capacity building and disability awareness raising component with training of 500 key informants from the community in disability awareness and mapping of medical and rehabilitation services.
Professor Chris Lavy, of NDORMS, who was on the KIM Malawi Steering Committee, said, "It's great that our department is working with LSHTM and the University of Malawi to help document the need for orthopaedic surgery and other physical treatment for children. The KIM Study helps give us valuable data to help plan services."
Data on the prevalence and causes of childhood disability are lacking in Malawi and generally in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs). Studies such as this are needed for informing policies, services and evidence-based advocacy for children with disabilities in LMICs.
The KIM study was led by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and funded by COSECSA Oxford Orthopaedic Link (a Health Partnership Scheme programme led by NDORMS and the College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa), together with CBM, Cure International UK, Fight for Sight, and the Liliane Foundation.