Mapping Africa's way into prominence in the field of neurology

Arch Neurol. 2007 Dec;64(12):1696-700. doi: 10.1001/archneur.64.12.1696.


Although neurology originated in Africa, there is little modern African contribution to the advancement of knowledge in this field. We present the African neurologic service and scientific productivity indices and suggest a development plan. We conducted PubMed and EMBASE searches for articles about neurologic services in Africa. To assess scientific productivity, we determined the number of publications of African origin in journals with high impact. The neurologist-population ratio in African countries varies from 1 per 162,885 persons to none in 11 countries, compared with 1 per 29,200 persons in the United States. There are few African publications in high-impact international journals of neurology. Africa faces a heavy burden of communicable diseases and increasing noncommunicable diseases, with few workers, poor equipment, and little research effort to bear it. There is a need for African neuroscientists to discover areas of research unique to the continent in order to advance the frontiers of knowledge for all neurologists. International collaboration and support are required to improve the number of workers, resources, and research productivity.

MeSH terms

  • Africa / epidemiology
  • Bibliometrics
  • Humans
  • Nervous System Diseases / epidemiology
  • Nervous System Diseases / rehabilitation
  • Neurology / education
  • Neurology / trends*
  • Physicians / supply & distribution
  • Publishing
  • Research