Prevalence and factors associated with medication adherence among patients with hypertension in sub-Saharan Africa: protocol for a systematic review and meta-analysis

BMJ Open. 2018 Mar 16;8(3):e020715. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-020715.


Introduction: Hypertension is the leading cardiovascular risk factor globally, associated with a high morbidity and mortality. The high prevalence of hypertension in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is associated with contrastingly low awareness, treatment and control rates. Adherence to medication remains a major determinant of optimal blood pressure control. This systematic review aims to determine the prevalence, and factors associated with adherence to antihypertensive pharmacotherapy among patients with hypertension in SSA.

Methods and analysis: We will include studies published in Africa up to 31 December 2017. The following databases will be searched: PubMed, Embase, SCOPUS and Web of Science to identify potential studies without language restriction. To minimise chances of missing studies, resources specific to African literature such as WHO AFROLIB, African Index Medicus and African Journals Online will also be searched. Two reviewers will independently screen studies, extract data and critically appraise included studies for risk of bias, and a third reviewer will resolve discrepancies. A random-effects meta-analysis is planned to pool study-specific estimates to obtain a summary measure presented in Forest plots. Heterogeneity of included studies will be assessed using the χ2 test on Cochrane's Q statistic and quantified using I2. Publication bias will be assessed using the Egger's test and funnel plots. This protocol has been prepared according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses for Protocols 2015 statement.

Ethical and dissemination: An ethical approval is not required for the proposed study, as it will be based on already published data. The end report will be presented at conferences and published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Prospero registration number: CRD42017079838.

Keywords: adherence; antihypertensive; associated factors; prevalence; sub-saharan Africa.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Africa South of the Sahara
  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / drug therapy*
  • Medication Adherence*
  • Risk Factors
  • Systematic Reviews as Topic


  • Antihypertensive Agents