DOI: 10.1002/hsr2.1759 ISSN: 2398-8835

Addressing hydrocephalus in Africa: Challenges and way forward

Burhan Kantawala, Maha Khattab, Shaima O. Elawad, Mohamad Assker, Batoul Cherri, Abubakar Nazir, Magda Wojtara, Olivier Uwishema
  • General Medicine


Hydrocephalus occurs when the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) accumulates in the cerebral ventricles. This is due to either obstruction in the CSF flow, decreasing its absorption by the arachnoid villus to the Dural venous sinuses, or increasing production of the CSF. The most disproportionately and severely affected by the disease consequences are African children. This is because of the high incidence of postinfectious hydrocephalus and spinal dysraphism compared with other world children. The health care system in Africa has access to 488 neurosurgeons which represents less than 1% of the global neurosurgeons, thus pediatric hydrocephalus is considered an emerging public health problem in Africa because of the difficulty of the patient's access to proper care. Numerous studies conducted in Africa have revealed a significant imbalance in the distribution of neurosurgical resources across the continent. Specifically, South Africa and North Africa collectively account for 86% of the total practicing neurosurgeons, indicating a pronounced concentration of these specialized medical professionals in these regions. Having an abundance of case studies regarding hydrocephalus is vital to increase our awareness and understanding. Hydrocephalus should gain more priority by current policymakers as an important health concern. This may be achieved by proper resource allocation to ensure better quality means of diagnosis, intervention, and rehabilitation.

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