Project Details

Early Career

Status: Funded - Open

Earthquake exposure in utero and after birth and early child development and growth in disadvantaged Nepalese children

Ingrid Kvestad, PhD


BACKGROUND: In 2015, the population of Nepal was heavily affected by major earthquakes. Previous studies have demonstrated high rates of long-term psychological consequences from major earthquakes in vulnerable adults. Studies demonstrate that maternal stress in pregnancy is associated with premature delivery, lower birth weight and suboptimal brain development, and postnatally, maternal distress is associated with impaired growth and suboptimal neurodevelopment.

GAP: Not enough is known on how major disasters contribute to impaired development and growth in children from populations in low-income countries with multiple risks of compromised development.

HYPOTHESIS: Maternal earthquake exposure influence development and growth at 6-11 months and 18-23 months in disadvantaged Nepalese children.

METHODS: In an ongoing clinical trial in in 600 children from a high-risk population in Bhaktapur, Nepal, heavily affected by the 2015 earthquakes resulting in great damage to their community and followed by political instability, we will include an earthquake exposure inventory (practical impact) and the Impact of Event Scale (subjective distress) for caregivers. At enrollment (6 to 11 months) and after 12 months we assess neurodevelopment by the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddlers Development 3rd ed., growth is measured at enrollment and every month subsequently for 12 months.

RESULTS: Pending

IMPACT: Our findings may lend support to the need for mental health care policies for survivors after major traumatic events in low-income countries as a critical measure to maximize developmental potential also in the disadvantaged children.

Supervising Institution:
Uni Research AS

Tor Strand

Project Location:
Norway, Nepal

Award Amount: