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Strategies for Autism Diagnosis and Care in Resource Deprived Settings in Africa: An Overview

[ Vol. 9 , Issue. 1 ]

Author(s):

Yewande Olufunmilayo Oshodi*, Elizabeth Adebola Campbell and Foluso Ebun Afolabi Lesi   Pages 58 - 66 ( 9 )

Abstract:


Background and Goals: Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) exist in Africa as they do everywhere in the world. Historically they have been under recognized and under studied. The aim of this paper is to review the existing challenges of ASD care and diagnosis in Africa, with a view to describing workable unique strategies deployable within the continent.

Methods: We present an overview of the existing medical literature and summarize key findings in relation to the topic of ASD in Africa. First, as a preliminary step, we highlight key findings from previous epidemiological surveys. Second, we undertook a review of relevant available evidence from the various African regions. When the authors were familiar with additional local or regional scientific works, these were also used and referenced.

Discussion: There has been a growing awareness of the extent to which ASDs exist and have an impact on affected individuals and their families. There are many barriers to diagnosis and effective interventions. These include lack of trained personnel, stigma and cultural beliefs regarding etiology, disparities in resources between urban and rural areas, and poverty. Nonetheless, partnerships to support research and the development of culturally appropriate interventions can be developed and strengths exist in the communities that can be harnessed to improve care.

Keywords:

Autism, autism spectrum, Africa, children and adolescents, public policy, epidemiology.

Affiliation:

Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine University of Lagos, Lagos, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Lagos, Department of Paediatrics, College of Medicine University of Lagos, Lagos



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