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Prevalence and sociodemographic determinants of dyspepsia in the general population of Rwanda
  1. Jean Bosco Bangamwabo1,
  2. John David Chetwood2,
  3. Vincent Dusabejambo3,4,
  4. Cyprien Ntirenganya5,
  5. George Nuki6,
  6. Arcade Nkurunziza7,8,
  7. Kelly A Kieffer9,
  8. Michael Jones10,
  9. Timothy D Walker2,11
  1. 1Department of Internal Medicine, Kibuye Referral Hospital, Kibuye, Rwanda
  2. 2Calvary Mater Newcastle, Waratah, New South Wales, Australia
  3. 3Department of Internal Medicine, Kigali University Teaching Hospital, Kigali, Rwanda
  4. 4Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine and Pharmacy, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Rwanda, Kigali, Rwanda
  5. 5Department of Internal Medicine, University Teaching Hospital of Butare, Butare, Rwanda
  6. 6University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  7. 7Kibungo Hospital, Kibungo, Eastern Province, Rwanda
  8. 8Department of Internal Medicine, Kibungo Referral Hospital, Ngoma District, Rwanda
  9. 9Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire, USA
  10. 10Psychology Faculty, Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  11. 11School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Timothy D Walker; timwalkerd{at}


Introduction Dyspepsia accounts for a significant burden of worldwide disease, but there is a relative paucity of data from the sub-Saharan African setting. We undertook to describe the burden, risk factors and severity of dyspepsia across Rwanda.

Methods We performed a population-based clustered cross-sectional survey between November 2015 and January 2016, nationwide in Rwanda, using the Short Form Leeds Dyspepsia Questionnaire to describe the presence and severity of dyspepsia, and the Short Form Nepean Dyspepsia Index to describe the concomitant quality of life effects. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression models were constructed to correlate measured sociodemographic factors with dyspepsia.

Results The prevalence of clinically significant dyspepsia in the general Rwandan population was 14.2% (283/2000). The univariate factors that significantly predicted severity were gender, profession, socioeconomic status, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, aspirin and alcohol use, with gender, current smoking, aspirin use both in the past and currently, and alcohol use in the past remaining significant on multivariate modelling. Dyspeptics had a significantly lower gastrointestinal-related quality of life, though the sociodemographic factors measured did not modify the observed quality of life.

Conclusion Dyspepsia is prevalent in the Rwandan setting and is associated with a significant burden on quality of life. More work is required to determine the pathological entities involved, and the optimal approach to mitigating this burden.

  • dyspepsia
  • epidemiology
  • quality of life

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  • Contributors JBB and TDW undertook the study design, and supervised data collection. JDC composed the manuscript and undertook statistical analysis with TDW and MJ. VD, CN, GN, AN and KAK provided support for data collection and for manuscript composition. All authors approved the final version of the manuscript. JDC and TDW are the guarantors of the article.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval Ethical approval for the study was given by the Rwandan College of Medicine and Health Sciences Institutional Review Board (IRB), then verbal informed consent was gained from the chief of each village before participant recruitment, in accordance with local custom. Written consent was gained from each participant and all data obtained were anonymised. Study participants who met the criteria for dyspepsia subsequently received education regarding possible improvements in lifestyle and diet, as well as education about methods of accessing healthcare for their symptoms.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data are available upon reasonable request. Please email if the original data are required.

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