A systematic review of diabetes risk assessment tools in sub-Saharan Africa

Edgar Ekure, Godwin Ovenseri-Ogbomo, Uchechukwu L. Osuagwu, Kingsley Agho, Bernadine Ekpenyong, Kelechi Ogbuehi, Antor O. Ndep, Patrick Okonji, Khathutshelo Percy Mashige, Kovin Shunmugan Naidoo

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Objectives: To systematically review all current studies on diabetes risk assessment tools used in SSA to diagnose diabetes in symptomatic and asymptomatic patients. Methods: Tools were identified through a systematic search of PubMed, Ovid, Google Scholar, and the Cochrane Library for articles published from January 2010 to January 2020. The search included articles reporting the use of diabetes risk assessment tool to detect individuals with type 2 diabetes in SSA. A standardized protocol was used for data extraction (registry #177726). Results: Of the 825 articles identified, 39 articles met the inclusion criteria, and three articles reported tools used in SSA population but developed for the Western population. None was validated in SSA population. All but three articles were observational studies (136 and 58,657 study participants aged between the ages of 15 and 85 years). The Finnish Medical Association risk tool, World Health Organization (WHO) STEPS instrument, General Practice Physical Activity Questionnaire (GPPAQ), Rapid Eating and Activity Assessment for Patients (REAP), and an anthropometric tool were the most frequently used non-invasive tools in SSA. The accuracy of the tools was measured using sensitivity, specificity, or area under the receiver operating curve. The anthropometric predictor variables identified included age, body mass index, waist circumference, positive family of diabetes, and activity levels. Conclusions: This systematic review demonstrated a paucity of validated diabetes risk assessment tools for SSA. There remains a need for the development and validation of a tool for the rapid identification of diabetes for targeted interventions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Diabetes in Developing Countries
Publication statusPublished - 12 Feb 2022


  • Africa
  • Diabetes risk assessment
  • Risk factors
  • Sub-Saharan region
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Validation


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