Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Background: Neurological impairments (NI) and disability are common among survivors of childhood mortality in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs). We conducted a systematic review to examine the barriers limiting access and utilization of biomedical care by children and adolescents with NI in LMICs. Methods: We searched PubMed, Latin America and Caribbean Health Sciences Literature, Global Index Medicus, and Google Scholar for studies published between 01/01/1990 and 14/11/2019 to identify relevant studies. We included all reports on barriers limiting access and utilization of preventive, curative, and rehabilitative care for children aged 0-19 years with NI in five domains: epilepsy, and cognitive, auditory, visual, and motor function impairment. Data from primary studies were synthesized using both qualitative and quantitative approaches, and we report a synthesized analysis of the barriers identified in the primary studies. Results: Our literature searches identified 3,074 reports of which 16 were included in the final analysis. Fourteen studies (87.5%) originated from rural settings in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Factors limiting access and utilization of healthcare services in >50% of the studies were: financial constraints (N=15, 93.8%), geographical inaccessibility (N=11, 68.8%), inadequate healthcare resources (N=11, 68.8%), inadequate education/awareness (N=9, 56.3%), and prohibitive culture/beliefs (N=9, 56.3%). Factors reported in <50% of the studies related to the attitude of the patient, health worker, or society (N=7, 43.8%), poor doctor-patient communication (N=5, 31.3%), physical inaccessibility (N=3, 18.8%), and a lack of confidentiality for personal information (N=2, 12.5%). Very few reports were identified from outside Africa preventing a statistical analysis by continent and economic level. Conclusions: Financial constraints, geographic inaccessibility, and inadequate healthcare resources were the most common barriers limiting access and utilization of healthcare services by children with NI in LMICs. PROSPERO registration: CRD42020165296 (28/04/2020)

Original publication





Wellcome Open Research


F1000 Research Ltd

Publication Date





61 - 61