The challenge of Parkinson's disease management in Africa

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Abstract

Parkinson's disease (PD) is said to be less common in Africa than elsewhere in the world, but previous studies have been based on small numbers. Also, the differences may be due to the diagnostic criteria used, case finding methods and different population age structures. Developing countries have few facilities for chronic disease management and non-communicable diseases, although on the increase, tend to play second fiddle to malaria and HIV/AIDS. Previous reports suggest that, at least from anecdotal information, under-diagnosis of PD is common and long-term availability of medication, follow-up, patient education and multidisciplinary input is lacking. Published literature is scarce and there is a lack of recent information. We are currently conducting a door-to-door prevalence study in northern Tanzania in a population of 161,162. We have reviewed previous literature on PD in Africa and illustrate our personal experience of PD and its management in Africa with three cases.

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