Background: Stroke is a neurological condition with rapidly increasing burden in many low- and middle-income countries. Africa is particularly hard-hit due to rapid population growth, patterns of industrialization, adoption of harmful western diets, and increased prevalence of risk factors such as hypertension and obesity. Reducing stroke risk factors and teaching people to respond to stroke warning signs can prevent stroke and reduce burden. However, being able to address gaps in knowledge and improving both preventative and early-response care requires a clear understanding of practical and potentially modifiable topics.
Methods: A cross sectional survey was conducted in urban Mukono district in central Uganda. Through a systematic sampling method, data were gathered from 440 adult participants who were interviewed about selected aspects of stroke knowledge, attitudes and perception, using a pretested structured questionnaire.
Results: Of the 440 study participants enrolled for this study nearly 52% correctly reported that stroke involves the brain, while 57% reported that stroke is preventable. Majority of the participants 75.7% reported stress as a contributing factor. Only 45.7% of the study participants reported hypertension as a risk factor. Only two (0.5%) study participants identified cigarette smoking as a stroke risk factor. Of the eighty six study participants with hypertension only 39.5% knew hypertension as a risk factor and only 10.7% knew three or more stroke risk factors.
Conclusion: Stroke knowledge is poor in urban Uganda. Individuals with hypertension had poor knowledge regarding stroke in spite their high risk for stroke. Stress and hypertension are the leading perceived risk factors in our settings. While stress is highly reported as a stroke risk factor in this study hypertension is likely a more amenable and practical intervention target.