Patient-Reported Outcome Measures in Key Sub-Saharan African Languages to Promote Diversity: A Scoping Review



Sub-Saharan Africa is a world region rich and diverse in cultures and languages; yet, it is also challenged with regard to resources that may facilitate the cultural adaptation or development of patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs). Systematic exclusion of patients’ “voices,” because of gaps in the availability of PROMs, may perpetuate health inequity. Hence, the objective is to describe the availability of PROMs in the non-English, sub-Saharan African languages.


A scoping review was conducted to identify PROMs that had been translated, validated, or developed for use in 32 selected, non-English, sub-Saharan African languages pertaining to health outcomes. Four databases were searched (May 7, 2021), and additional articles were identified through reference screening and via corresponding authors. Data were extracted in terms of country, language, population, construct, and PROM characteristics (eg, number of items).


A total of 220 unique articles were included from 7451 records, leading to the identification of 126 unique PROMs. Most studies were conducted in either Ethiopia, Nigeria, or South Africa. As such, prevalent languages included Amharic, Yoruba, and non-English languages common to South Africa (eg, Setswana, Xhosa, and Zulu). No PROMs were identified in any of the languages for 27 sub-Saharan African countries or 10 of the 32 included languages.


There are significant gaps in the availability of PROMs across the non-English African languages included. Nevertheless, the PROMs that were identified largely align with core outcome sets relevant to the prevalent disease burden in this world region. Consensus-based priority setting may inform the most pertinent gaps to be addressed.


Chanel van Zyl Lidwine B. Mokkink Wayne Derman Susan Hanekom Martin Heine

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