Stroke knowledge and awareness in the general public is important to improve stroke prevention and ensure prompt response to disease onset. Addressing the dearth of data in Africa, this study aimed to determine the level of knowledge on stroke definition, symptoms, risk factors and complications in the general population living in Yaoundé, Cameroon.
From February to April 2015, we conducted a cross-sectional study at the Nicolas Barre Hospital Centre. With the exception of the health personnel, we recruited all individuals aged ≥18 years who visited the Centre for one reason or another and who volunteered to answer our questionnaire. The level of knowledge on stroke was evaluated on 28 points corresponding to 28 questions addressing either stroke definition, warning signs and symptoms, risk factors or complications.
In total, 1.025 participants (57.4% females) were enrolled. The median age was 34 years (interquartile range: 26–48); 14.9% and 9.8% of the participants were known hypertensive and diabetes patients, respectively. Overall, 99% of participants had already heard about stroke. The mean score of knowledge was 81.3 ± 11.1%. The main sources of information on stroke were the close entourage (83.0%) and the health personnel (73.0%); media (television (16.4%), newspaper (8.0%), internet (7.7%), and radio (2.2%)) and school (8.0%) were the least represented. Speech disturbances (98.3%) and weakness, numbness or paralysis of one part of the body (98.0%) were the major warning signs and symptoms cited. Hypertension (98.5%) and overweight/obesity (97.8%) were the most known risk factors; 98.7% of people were aware of stroke common complications. Younger age (<45 years), male sex, lower level of education and previous experience of stroke education were independently associated with a lower level of knowledge on stroke.
The general public's level of knowledge on stroke in Yaoundé is good, though still needing to be improved. Media and schools should be capitalized to communicate on stroke, as these means will help to reach the youngest and the least educated who seem to have lower levels of knowledge.
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Published online: May 02, 2017
Accepted: May 1, 2017
Received in revised form: April 28, 2017
Received: April 13, 2017
© 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.