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Dual sensory impairment in special schools in South-Eastern Nigeria
  1. Ada E Aghaji1,
  2. Richard Bowman2,
  3. Vincent C Ofoegbu3,
  4. Andrew Smith4
  1. 1Department of Ophthalmology, University of Nigeria, Enugu, Nigeria
  2. 2International Centre for Eye Health, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK
  3. 3Department of Otorhinolaryngology, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, Nigeria
  4. 4International Centre for Evidence in Disability, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ada E Aghaji, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, Nigeria; aaghaji{at}, ada.aghaji{at}


In a cross-sectional study to determine the magnitude of dual sensory impairment (DSI-combined hearing and vision loss) in children in single-disability special education schools, children in schools for the blind and schools for the deaf in four states in South-East Nigeria were examined by an ophthalmologist and otorhinolaryngologist to determine the level of their disability and to identify other disabilities if any. Participants were all students with childhood blindness or childhood deafness. The magnitude and causes of DSI and the burden of undetected DSI were the main outcome measures. A total of 273 students were examined. About 7% of these students had DSI out of which over 60% (12/19) was previously undetected. There was more DSI in the blind schools than in the deaf schools (p=0.003). There is a large burden of undetected DSI in children in special schools in Nigeria. There is a need to create awareness of this problem and advocate appropriate screening, rehabilitative and educational strategies for children who have it.

  • School Health
  • Comm Child Health
  • Deafness
  • Ophthalmology

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  • Contributors Made substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work: AEA, RB, AS and EO. Drafted the work or revised it critically for important intellectual content: AEA, RB, EO and AS. Approved the final version to be published: AEA, RB, EO and AS.

  • Funding British Council for the Prevention of Blindness.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval Medical Ethics Review Boards of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement The authors are willing to share the original study protocol and anonymised data set used for the analysis on request to fellow researchers.