Knowledge of primary paediatric care providers regarding attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and learning disorder: a study from PakistanSingapore Medical Journal
AbstractIntroduction: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and learning disorder (LD) remain prevalent globally and are also speculated to have a high occurrence in Pakistan. An early diagnosis and intervention in these disabilities is imperative for achieving good clinical and functional outcomes. This can be ensured by an effective screening at the level of primary paediatric care in the developing countries. We aimed to explore the ability of general practitioners (GPs) and paediatricians in Pakistan to screen for ADHD and LD based on their awareness regarding the risk factors and symptomatology of ADHD and LD. Methods: A total of 96 paediatricians and 98 GPs practising in Karachi, Pakistan were included in the study. Data was collected employing a self-administered questionnaire. Results: Only 13.7 percent of the GPs and 21.6 percent of the paediatricians were shown to have knowledge sufficient to effectively screen for / diagnose ADHD. Alarmingly, not a single GP was adequately familiar with the established risk factors and clinical symptoms of LD. The level of knowledge was not influenced by age, gender, and clinical practice attributes of the physicians. Doctors who regularly read medical journals and attend medical education seminars showed slightly better trends. Conclusion : We hypothesise that this demonstrated lack of knowledge at the level of primary care in Pakistan prevents an early screening of ADHD and LD. A multipronged strategy targeted at the provision of objective screening tools for primary paediatric care providers, regular continuing medical education seminars and an emphasis on paediatric mental health in undergraduate and postgraduate curricula may ensure an early detection of ADHD and LD in Pakistan.