Prevalence of Frailty in Older Community‐Dwelling Tanzanians According to Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment

Emma G. Lewis MBBS, MRes Greta Wood MRes Kate Howorth MBBS Bhavini Shah MBBS Louise Mulligan MBBS John Kissima MSc Catherine Dotchin MD William Gray PhD Sarah Urasa MBBS Richard Walker MD
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To investigate the prevalence of frailty using a Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment (CGA) in older community‐dwelling adults living in rural northern Tanzania.


Cross‐sectional survey.


Five randomly selected villages in Hai District, Kilimanjaro region, Tanzania.


All adults aged 60 and older living in the selected villages were eligible to participate, including older adults with cognitive impairment provided a close relative was able to assent on their behalf. All participants were community dwelling because institutionalization is very rare.


Participants were screened using a short frailty screening tool, the Brief Frailty Instrument for Tanzania (B‐FIT), comprising an abbreviated test of cognitive function and the Barthel Index, which assesses functional independence. Based on B‐FIT score, a frailty‐weighted, stratified sample was selected for in‐depth assessment using CGA and characterized as frail or not frail.


Two hundred thirty‐six CGAs were performed in 1,207 people screened, 91 of whom were deemed frail. After adjusting for stratification, the prevalence of frailty was 19.1% (95% confidence interval=15.2–23.1).


This is the first study in sub‐Saharan Africa to report the prevalence of frailty in community‐dwelling older adults according to a CGA. The strengths of reporting frailty according to a CGA include the ability to consider likely medical diagnoses based on clinical assessment and to assess individuals' social circumstances and environment.