Child maltreatment and mental health in Sub-Saharan Africa

Besa Bauta, Keng Yen Huang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Child maltreatment is a salient issue and global health burden in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) given existing challenges with security due to regional conflicts, access to economic opportunities, and resources such as health, education, and social services. Despite recognition that child maltreatment is a critical public health issue in developing countries progress has been slow. Challenges remain in implementing recommended strategies effectively due to inadequacy of in-country policies, lack of reactive child welfare systems, and lack of systematic research in LMICs. It remains unclear how international guidelines have been applied in LMICs, what research progress has been made in different regions of LMICs, how child maltreatment impacts child physical and mental health, what interventions can mitigate negative effects, and what is the impact for applying different intervention strategies. In this chapter, a summary of the recent publications in basic science, practice, and policy research related to child maltreatment in African settings is presented. The prevalence and epidemiological research on maltreatment and child health (including physical and mental health) are summarized. The global agenda for child maltreatment prevention and control, resources, systems, policies in Africa, and challenges in integrating violence prevention services and child mental health care in African settings is also outlined. Finally, frameworks and strategies to address child violence, abuse, neglect, and mental health needs in LMIC settings, and suggestions and recommendations for future studies, are highlighted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationChild Behavioral Health in Sub-Saharan Africa
Subtitle of host publicationTowards Evidence Generation and Policy Development
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9783030837075
ISBN (Print)9783030837068
StatePublished - Nov 22 2021


  • Child maltreatment
  • Policies
  • Protective factors
  • Risk factors
  • Sub-Saharan Africa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Medicine
  • General Psychology


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