Objectives This study aims to (1) estimate the prevalence of acute respiratory infection (ARI) symptoms, diarrhoea and fever in the previous two weeks among 3–4 year old children who are/are not at-risk of intellectual disability in 24 low- and middle-income countries and (2) to investigate possible inequities in access to treatment among affected children. Study design Cross-sectional survey. Methods Secondary analysis of Rounds 4 and 5 UNICEF Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) from 24 low- and middle-income countries (n = 99,934 children). Results Pooled estimates indicated that young children at-risk of intellectual disability in low-income countries were significantly more likely than their peers to have reported symptoms of ARI and diarrhoea in the previous 2 weeks, and significantly less likely to have received appropriate treatment. Pooled estimates indicated that in middle-income countries children at-risk of intellectual disability were significantly more likely than their peers to have reported symptoms of ARI, diarrhoea and fever during the previous 2 weeks. Symptomatic children at-risk of intellectual disability were significantly less likely than their peers to have received antibiotics/antimotility medication for diarrhoea or antibiotics for ARI symptoms, but significantly more likely to be prescribed anti-malarials for fever. Conclusions These results indicate the existence of significant inequalities and possible inequities in the exposure to and the treatment of three major infectious diseases among children who are/are not considered at-risk of intellectual disabilities in low- and middle-income countries.
- Infectious disease
- Intellectual disability
- Low- and middle-income countries