Developmental screening tools: feasibility of use at primary healthcare level in low- and middle-income settings

J Health Popul Nutr. 2014 Jun;32(2):314-26.


An estimated 150 million children have a disability. Early identification of developmental disabilities is a high priority for the World Health Organization to allow action to reduce impairments through Gap Action Program on mental health. The study identified the feasibility of using the developmental screening and monitoring tools for children aged 0-3 year(s) by non-specialist primary healthcare providers in low-resource settings. A systematic review of the literature was conducted to identify the tools, assess their psychometric properties, and feasibility of use in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Key indicators to examine feasibility in LMICs were derived from a consultation with 23 international experts. We identified 426 studies from which 14 tools used in LMICs were extracted for further examination. Three tools reported adequate psychometric properties and met most of the feasibility criteria. Three tools appear promising for use in identifying and monitoring young children with disabilities at primary healthcare level in LMICs. Further research and development are needed to optimize these tools.

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Developing Countries / statistics & numerical data
  • Developmental Disabilities / diagnosis*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Internationality
  • Poverty / statistics & numerical data*
  • Primary Health Care / methods*
  • Primary Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychometrics
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • World Health Organization