Quality of life of stroke survivors in Africa: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Umar Muhammad Bello, Muhammad Chutiyami*, Dauda Salihu, Sham’un Isah Abdu, Buhari Abdullahi Tafida, Abdulhamid Ardo Jabbo, Adamu Gamawa, Lawan Umar, Aliyu Lawan, Tiev Miller, Stanley John Winser

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Functional impairments and socioeconomic constraints associated with stroke affect quality of life (QoL). With limited care and social support resources, there is a greater anticipated decline in QoL among stroke survivors in Africa. This study aims to examine post-stroke QoL, properties of outcome measures adopted and predictors of the QoL among African stroke survivors. Methods: African Journals Online, CINAHL, PsychINFO, PubMed and Web of Science databases were searched from inception to February 2020. Methodological quality was assessed using the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (ARHQ) methodology checklist for observational studies. Results: Twenty-eight studies recruiting 2572 (76.4%) stroke survivors and 795 (23.6%) healthy volunteers were included. Studies were conducted in eight African countries between 2007 and 2019. Methodological quality of studies was good. Overall, stroke survivors reported a low QoL. Six studies comparing QoL between stroke survivors and healthy controls were pooled for meta-analysis. Results showed a biased-adjusted standardised mean difference (Hedges’s g) of 1.13 (95% CI 0.71 to 1.56; p < 0.001), indicating better QoL among healthy controls. Only 4 (14.3%) studies used translated or cross-culturally adapted QoL assessment tools. The most commonly reported predictor of QoL was post-stroke disability (35.8% of studies) which is followed by depression (28.6%) and stroke severity (28.6%). Conclusions: Overall, African stroke survivors reported comparatively lower QoL as compared to age-matched healthy controls. This highlights the need for cross-culturally validated assessment tools and more robust post-stroke QoL evaluation across the African continent. To improve QoL of stroke survivors in Africa, early interventions should focus on reducing disability and depression associated with stroke. PROSPERO registration number: CRD42019137653.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalQuality of Life Research
Issue number1
Early online date25 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • stroke survivors
  • quality of life
  • predictors
  • Africa
  • cross-cultural


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