Perceptions of Stroke and Associated Health-Care-Seeking Behavior in Northern Tanzania: A Community-Based Study

Hertz J.T.a · Madut D.B.b · William G.c · Maro V.P.d · Crump J.A.e · Rubach M.P.b
Publication year: 


Little is known about knowledge of stroke symptoms, perceptions of self-risk, and health-care-seeking behavior for stroke in East Africa.



A 2-stage randomized population-based cluster survey with selection proportional to population size was performed in northern Tanzania. Self-identified household health-care decision makers were asked to list all symptoms of a stroke. They were further asked if they thought they had a chance of having a stroke and where they would present for care for stroke-like symptoms. A socioeconomic status score was derived via principal component analysis from 9 variables related to wealth.  



Of 670 respondents, 184 (27.4%) knew a conventional stroke symptom and 51 (7.6%) thought they had a chance of having a stroke. Females were less likely to perceive themselves to be at risk than males (OR 0.49, 95% CI 0.28–0.89, p = 0.014). Of respondents, 558 (88.3%) stated they would present to a hospital for stroke-like symptoms. Preference for a hospital was not associated with knowledge of stroke symptoms or perception of self-risk but was associated with a higher socioeconomic status score (p < 0.001).



Knowledge of stroke symptoms and perception of self-risk are low in northern Tanzania, but most residents would present to a hospital for stroke-like symptoms.