Systematic review and meta-analysis: prevalence of alcohol use among young people in eastern Africa.

Francis, JM; Grosskurth, H; Changalucha, J; Kapiga, SH; Weiss, HA; (2014) Systematic review and meta-analysis: prevalence of alcohol use among young people in eastern Africa. Tropical medicine & international health, 19 (4). pp. 476-88. ISSN 1360-2276 DOI:

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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.<br/> METHODS: Five 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 I(2) statistic (DerSimonian-Laird).<br/> 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%).<br/> 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.<br/>

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Infectious Disease Epidemiology
Research Centre: Centre for Global Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs)
Tropical Epidemiology Group
Centre for Maternal, Reproductive and Child Health (MARCH)
PubMed ID: 24479379
Web of Science ID: 334398000013


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