This review found that alcohol use and problem drinking were common among diverse groups of young people in eastern Africa
Objective: Systematic review and meta-analysis of published studies of alcohol use among young people (age 15–24 years) in eastern Africa to estimate prevalence of alcohol use and determine the extent of use of standardised screening questionnaires in alcohol studies This review covers Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Seychelles, Rwanda, Eritrea, Burundi, Somalia, Somaliland, Comoros and South Sudan
Methods: 5 databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, Global Health, Africa-wide, and PsycINFO) were searched for publications until 30th June 2013. Results were summarised using the guidelines on preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PRISMA) and on quality assessment using the modified quality assessment tool for systematic reviews of observational studies (QATSO). Heterogeneity was assessed using the I2 statistic (DerSimonian-Laird).
Results: We identified 2785 potentially relevant studies, of which 56 were eligible for inclusion. Only two studies (4%) used the standardised Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT) questionnaire, and six studies (13%) used the Cut down, Annoyed, Guilt, Eye opener (CAGE) questionnaire. The reported median prevalence of alcohol use was ever-use 52% [interquartile range (IQR): 20–58%], use in the last month 28% (IQR: 17–37%), use in the last year 26% (IQR: 22–32%), and problem drinking as defined by CAGE or AUDIT 15% (IQR: 3–36%). We observed high heterogeneity between studies, with the highest prevalence of ever use of alcohol among university students (82%; 95%CI: 79–85%) and female sex workers (66%; 95%CI: 58–74%). Current use was most prevalent among male sex workers (69%; 95%CI: 63–75%).
Conclusions: Reported alcohol use and problem drinking were common among diverse groups of young people in eastern Africa, indicating the urgent need for alcohol-focused interventions in this population. Few studies have used standardised alcohol screening questionnaires. Epidemiological research to investigate alcohol-focused interventions in young people should aim to apply such questionnaires that should be validated for use in this population.
This research is funded under the Department for International Development’s STRIVE Programme which is led by London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM).
Francis, J.M.; Grosskurth, H.; Changalucha, J.; Kapiga, S.H.; Weiss, H.A. Systematic review and meta-analysis: prevalence of alcohol use among young people in eastern Africa. Tropical Medicine and International Health (2014) : [DOI: 10.1111/tmi.12267]