A call to action for osteoporosis research in sub-saharan Africa Yacoba Atiase and Akuffo Quarde

  • Yacoba Atiase
  • Akuffo Quarde
Keywords: osteoporosis; incidence; prevalence; hip fracture; fragility fracture


Data abounds on osteoporosis in developed countries unlike developing countries, particularly those in sub-Saharan Africa. This review was done to confirm the paucity of data the authors suspected and to encourage studies in this field. AJOL (African Journals Online), MEDLINE and EMBASE databases were searched for studies published from January 1980 to August 2018. The eligibility criteria for inclusion were observational studies evaluating osteoporosis prevalence or incidence rates of fragility fractures. Out of 1,170 articles identified, six met the eligibility criteria.

Prevalence of osteoporosis ranged from 18.2% to 65.8% across a heterogenous at-risk population. Bone mineral density assessment was limited by the measurement method, with most studies using quantitative ultrasound instead of standard bone densitometry.

From the available studies, the prevalence of osteoporosis and fragility fracture incidence may not be low in Sub-Saharan Africa; what is, however, evident is the paucity of good quality data from this region. Considering an expected aging population in sub-Saharan Africa, future research should be encouraged and aimed at clarifying the burden of this non-communicable disease. This will guide healthcare policy in this medically underserved part of Africa.

Keywords: osteoporosis, incidence, prevalence, hip fracture, fragility fracture

Funding: None declared


Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 0016-9560