Background: Headache burden is not adequately explored in Africa. Here, we measured weighted migraine prevalence from community-based studies in Africa.
Methods: PubMed search was employed using terms 'headache in Africa' AND/OR 'migraine in Africa' for published literature from 1970 until January 31, 2014. PRISMA was applied for systematic review. Forest-plot meta-analysis, inter-study heterogeneity, and odds ratio were used to measure weighted prevalence, inter-gender, and urban-rural differences. Disability adjusted life years (DALYs) for migraine and other neurologic disorders in Africa were extracted from Global Burden of Diseases (GBD) 2000-2030.
Results: Among 21 community-based studies included (n=137,277), pooled migraine prevalence was 5.61% (95% CI 4.61, 6.70; random effects) among general population; while 14.89% (14.06, 15.74; fixed effects) among student cohorts. Female students had weighted OR of 2.13 (1.34, 3.37; p=0.0013). Prevalence of migraine was higher among urban population compared to rural settings. Migraine burden is bound to increase by more than 10% DALYs within the next decade.
Conclusion: Africa has a crude estimate of 56 million people suffering from migraine. By virtue of mainly afflicting the younger working-age group, migraine disability has wider socioeconomic implications. Improving early headache management access points at community-level, training and research at facility-level, and healthy lifestyle modification among urban residents can help reduce this costly and disabling chronic progressive health problem.
Keywords: Burden of Headache in Africa; Community-based studies; Migraine; Neurological disorders; Prevalence; Systematic review and meta-analysis.
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