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Comparison of knowledge on stroke for stroke patients and the general population in Burkina Faso: a cross-sectional study

1 Institute of Public Health, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan
2 Department of Medicine, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan
3 Ministry of Health, Burkina Faso

Background: In many parts of Africa, there is limited information on awareness of symptoms of stroke, risk factors for stroke and willingness for stroke prevention, both in the general population and in people with stroke. Knowledge and preventive efforts for stroke in patients with a history of the illness are rarely investigated. This study aims to investigate awareness of stroke symptoms in stroke patients who were admitted to hospitals within 72 hours of a confirmed stroke event in Burkina Faso. This study also aims to investigate preventive behavior for stroke for the general population. Methods: Face-to-face interviews were conducted with the participants. The sample included 110 first-time stroke patients who had been admitted to one of three tertiary teaching hospitals in Burkina Faso within 72 hours and 750 participants from the general population, who were recruited through clustered sampling. Knowledge of stroke warning signs and current and future efforts on stroke prevention were also assessed. Results: Only 30.9% of the stroke patients believed that they were at risk before the stroke episode. Obvious warning signs were unfamiliar to both groups. Only 1.3% of the respondents from the general population group knew sudden weakness face arm or leg as a sign of stroke. For all future efforts in stroke prevention, stroke patients demonstrated significantly lower willingness to undertake behavioral changes than the general population. Sixty-six percent and 85% of the stroke patients and the general population, respectively, were willing to take steps to reduce blood pressure. Conclusion: Public education on stroke warning signs and strategies to increase willingness to engage in preventive behaviors are urgent in African countries. Strategies to improve public awareness for developing countries such as Burkina Faso should be designed differently from that of developed countries to incorporate local beliefs.
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