Community-level knowledge and perceptions of stroke in rural Malawi

Mvula, H., Chisambo, C., Nyirenda, V., Geis, S., Glynn, J. R., Crampin, A. C. , Nyirenda, M., Smeeth, L., Walker, R. and Price, A. J. (2019) Community-level knowledge and perceptions of stroke in rural Malawi. Stroke, 50(7), pp. 1846-1849. (doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.119.025105) (PMID:31164071) (PMCID:PMC6594749)

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Background and Purpose— The incidence of stroke in Malawi is unknown but major risk factors, including hypertension, obesity, and diabetes mellitus, are highly prevalent. We sought to understand community-level knowledge about stroke. Methods— A population-based cross-sectional study was conducted in rural Malawi (2016–2017). Adults aged ≥15 years were randomly selected and interviewed about their knowledge and perceptions of stroke symptoms, risk factors, and prevention. Logistic regression was used to investigate sociodemographic factors associated with stroke knowledge. Results— Of 812 selected, 739 (91% response rate) were seen and consented; 57% were female, and the median age was 52.0 years. Knowledge of stroke was poor: 71% knew no (correct) risk factors. Witchcraft (20.6%) was mentioned as frequently as hypertension (19.8%) as a cause. Knowledge of stroke was greatest in the most educated and wealthy and lowest in men, the never married, and the youngest age group. HIV-positive individuals had higher knowledge of prevention (odds ratio, 2.91; 95% CI, 1.21–7.03) than HIV negative individuals. Conclusions— Knowledge about stroke is very low in this community, particularly among the least educated and poor. Programs to support prevention, early recognition, and timely hospital presentation after a stroke are needed.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Supported by Wellcome postdoctoral fellowship funding (A.J. Price).
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Crampin, Professor Mia
Authors: Mvula, H., Chisambo, C., Nyirenda, V., Geis, S., Glynn, J. R., Crampin, A. C., Nyirenda, M., Smeeth, L., Walker, R., and Price, A. J.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > Public Health
Journal Name:Stroke
Publisher:American Heart Association
ISSN (Online):1524-4628
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 The Author(s) and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Malawi Epidemiology and Intervention Research Unit
First Published:First published in Stroke 50:1846–1849
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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