Supporting early childhood intervention in the Pacific

53 million children under 5 live with developmental disability.  Action is urgently needed for the 95% who live in low- and middle-income countries.1

While globally progress has been made in improving child health and reducing under 5 mortality, less attention has been given to what happens for those children who survive with, or at risk of, disability.

Child draped over a swiss ball The Nossal Institute’s Disability Inclusive Health and Development unit is collaborating with the Frank Hilton Organization (FHO) in Fiji to conduct a study of care pathways and systems across sectors for the early identification and intervention for children with disability.  This study will provide a much needed evidence base on the current situation for young children with disability and their families in seeking and accessing vital supports. We hope to identify opportunities for strengthening systems across sectors to enable these children to achieve their best possible outcomes.

Our study involves a review of current literature, policies and strategies and interviews with key stakeholders from health, education, disability and social services sector from high level ministry to grassroots service providers. We will also be interviewing parents or caregivers of children with disability to understand their experiences in seeking and receiving care and supports for their child. The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated a major reassessment of the delivery of this project. We are excited to have our local partner FHO implement on the ground in Fiji with remote support from the Nossal experts in Melbourne. Training is underway for the Fiji team with data collection anticipated to start soon.

This study is, funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) under the CBM-DFAT “Partnership for Provision of Disability Technical Advice and Services”.

Read more about Disability Inclusive Health and Development projects.


Fleur Smith
Dr Manjula Marella


Frank Hilton Organization (FHO)
Murdoch Children’s Research Institute

[1] Global Research on Developmental Disabilities Collaborators. Developmental disabilities among children younger than 5 years in 195 countries and territories, 1990-2016: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016. Lancet Global Health, 2018; 6(10).