Child health surveillance is part of a broad set of activities, the objective of which is to reduce childhood disability by identifying and managing a multiplicity of conditions at an early stage.1 This includes several screening programmes which are focused on the detection of specific disorders. The value of surveillance and monitoring of child health, growth, and development used to be regarded as self evident. The Hall reports emphasised the importance of applying rigorous criteria for screening programmes in community child health and helped to produce a more coordinated national programme.2–4 However, there is still considerable variation both within and between health authorities in the content, timing, and delivery of child health surveillance. This paper summarises the research evidence presented in a recent issue of the Effective Health Care bulletin, Vol 4, No 2; April, 1998 about hearing, speech and language, and vision screening and is based on recent systematic reviews commissioned by the National Health Service (NHS) Health Technology Assessment Programme. Details of the methods and the results are available in the full reports.5–
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