PLoS Medicine
Public Library of Science
National and regional prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder in sub-Saharan Africa: A systematic review and meta-analysis
Volume: 17, Issue: 5
DOI 10.1371/journal.pmed.1003090

Why was this study done?Repeated and prolonged exposure to violence, armed conflict, and mass-casualty events, combined with a lack of access to mental health treatment, may result in a substantial effect on the population burden of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).While many studies of PTSD have been conducted in SSA, most of these studies derived their estimates from nonrepresentative samples or specific populations.Population-representative epidemiologic data are critical to understand the burden of PTSD in SSA and develop national and regional policies to address that burden.What did the researchers do and find?We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of the prevalence of PTSD from representative national and regional studies in SSA.Pooled prevalence estimates were calculated across all studies, and then within subgroups including by sex, assessment time frame (i.e., 1 week, 1 month, 1 year), use of a screening or diagnostic measure, and whether populations were affected or not affected by mass-casualty war or armed conflict.We identified 25 unique studies (N = 58,887) across 10 of the 48 SSA countries.The pooled prevalence of probable PTSD across all studies was 22% (95% CI 13%–32%).The pooled prevalence of probable PTSD in participants from war-exposed regions was 30% (95% CI 20%–40%), while the estimate from war-unexposed regions was 8% (95% CI 3%–15%; p = 0.01).What do these findings mean?These data suggest that PTSD symptoms and probable PTSD are common in SSA.However, information was only found on 10 of the 48 SSA countries, and only 6 studies provided national-level data.Only one study used a measure of PTSD symptoms whose reliability and validity had been assessed previously in the population of interest.Our results suggest both that PTSD is a major public health problem in SSA and that large gaps in our knowledge of this problem remain. and regional prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder in sub-Saharan Africa: A systematic review and meta-analysis&author=Lauren C. Ng,Anne Stevenson,Sreeja S. Kalapurakkel,Charlotte Hanlon,Soraya Seedat,Boniface Harerimana,Bonginkosi Chiliza,Karestan C. Koenen,Peter Byass,&keyword=&subject=Research Article,Medicine and Health Sciences,Mental Health and Psychiatry,Neuropsychiatric Disorders,Anxiety Disorders,Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder,Medicine and Health Sciences,Mental Health and Psychiatry,Neuroses,Anxiety Disorders,Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder,People and Places,Population Groupings,Age Groups,Adults,Research and Analysis Methods,Mathematical and Statistical Techniques,Statistical Methods,Metaanalysis,Physical Sciences,Mathematics,Statistics,Statistical Methods,Metaanalysis,Medicine and Health Sciences,Mental Health and Psychiatry,Social Sciences,Political Science,War and Civil Unrest,People and Places,Geographical Locations,Africa,Research and Analysis Methods,Research Assessment,Systematic Reviews,Research and Analysis Methods,Research Assessment,Research Validity,