Early detection of developmental delays in vulnerable children by community care workers using an mHealth tool

20 Sep 2019

Developmental delays are increasing worldwide, as a result of exposure to environmental risk factors. Early detection services are often inaccessible in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). An mHealth developmental screening programme with community care workers (CCWs) was investigated. CCWs administered a smartphone application to vulnerable families during home-based services. One-hundred and thirty-eight children were screened and those who failed were rescreened. CCWs completed a questionnaire regarding their perceptions of community-based mHealth-assisted screening. The overall referral rate was 69%. Older children (19–38 months old) had a significantly higher (p < .05; Chi-Square) referral rate (84%; n = 62) compared to those aged 0–18 months (52%; n = 33). CCWs perceived mHealth screening as valuable in terms of utility, outcomes and contribution to developmental knowledge for community members and CCWs. Community-based services are a promising platform to implement mHealth-assisted early developmental screening programmes. CCWs and mHealth-assisted developmental screening can facilitate better access to early detection and developmental surveillance for vulnerable populations.