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Knowledge and perception of stroke amongst hospital workers in an African community


Dr Rufus O. Akinyemi, Neurovascular Research Unit, Institute for Ageing and Health, Campus for Ageing and Vitality, Newcastle General Hospital, Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne NE4 6BE, UK (tel.: +44 (0) 191 248 1209; fax: +44 (0) 191 248 1101; e-mail:


Background and purpose:  Stroke is a growing public health problem worldwide. Hospital workers are sources of knowledge on health issues including stroke. The present study aimed at assessing the knowledge and perception of a sample of Nigerian hospital workers about stroke.

Methods:  Hospital-based, cross-sectional survey. Respondents selected by systematic random sampling were interviewed using a 29-item pre-tested, structured, semi-closed questionnaire.

Results:  There were 370 respondents (63% female, mean age: 34.4 ± 7.5 years; 61% non-clinical workers). Twenty-nine per cent of respondents did not recognize the brain as the organ affected. Hypertension (88.6%) was the commonest risk factor identified; 13.8% identified evil spirit/witchcraft as a cause of stroke, whilst one-sided body weakness (61.9%) was most commonly identified as warning symptom. Hospital treatment was most preferred by 61.1% of respondents whilst spiritual healing was most preferred by 13.0%. In the bivariate analysis, higher level of education and being a clinical worker correlated with better stroke knowledge (P < 0.001).

Conclusion:  This study demonstrates gaps in the knowledge of these hospital workers about stroke, and treatment choice influenced by cultural and religious beliefs. Health education is still important, even, amongst health workers and stroke awareness campaigns may need to involve faith-based organizations.