Long-term neurocognitive and educational outcomes of neonatal insults in Kilifi, Kenya

Dorcas N. Magai*, Hans M. Koot, Paul Mwangi, Esther Chongwo, Charles R. Newton, Amina Abubakar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: There is little data on the long-term neurocognitive and educational outcomes among school-aged survivors of neonatal jaundice (NNJ) and hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) in Africa. This study investigates the long-term neurocognitive and educational outcomes and the correlates of these outcomes in school-aged survivors of NNJ or HIE in Kilifi, Kenya. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study on neurocognitive and educational outcomes among school-aged survivors (6–12 years) of NNJ (n = 134) and HIE (n = 107) and compared them to a community comparison group (n = 134). We assessed nonverbal intelligence, planning, working memory, attention, syntax, pragmatics, word-finding, memory, perceptual-motor, mathematical, and reading abilities. We also collected information on medical history, caregivers’ mental health, and family environment. Results: The survivors of NNJ had lower mean total scores in word-finding [F (1, 250) = 3.89, p = 0.050] and memory [F (1, 248) = 6.74, p = 0.010] than the comparison group. The survivors of HIE had lower mean scores in pragmatics [F (1, 230) = 6.61, p = 0.011] and higher scores higher scores in non-verbal reasoning [F (1, 225) =4.10, p = 0.044] than the comparison group. Stunted growth was associated with almost all the outcomes in HIE. Conclusion: Survivors of NNJ and HIE present with impairment in the multiple domains, which need to be taken into consideration in the planning of educational and rehabilitative services.

Original languageEnglish
Article number578
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalBMC Psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2020


This work was supported through the DELTAS Africa Initiative [DEL-15-003]. The DELTAS Africa Initiative is an independent funding scheme of the African Academy of Sciences (AAS)’s Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA) and supported by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development Planning and Coordinating Agency (NEPAD Agency) with funding from the Wellcome Trust [107769/Z/10/Z] and the UK government. The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and not necessarily those of AAS, NEPAD Agency, Wellcome Trust, or the UK government. No funding bodies had any role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

FundersFunder number
Kenya Medical Research Institute
New Partnership for Africa’s Development
Wellcome Trust107769/Z/10/Z
Government of the United Kingdom
New Partnership for Africa's Development
African Academy of Sciences


    • Children
    • Disability
    • Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy
    • Neonatal jaundice
    • Neurocognitive impairment


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