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Papers: 1 Jun 2024 - 7 Jun 2024

2024 Jun 05



Burden of chronic pain among adult pastoralists in Ethiopia: a cross-sectional household survey.


Baum E, Abdi S, Hattendorf J, van Eeuwijk P, Tschopp R, Vosseler B, Zinsstag J, Probst-Hensch N


Chronic pain is a major global health problem. Untreated pain causes particular suffering in marginalized communities. Most studies investigating chronic pain in sub-Saharan Africa stem from South Africa and Nigeria. Pastoralists are particularly underrepresented in pain research. The main objective of this study is to investigate the burden of chronic pain in adult pastoralists in the Somali Regional State of Ethiopia. We conducted a cross-sectional household survey among adult pastoralists (aged 18 years or older, N = 299) by face-to-face interviews. To randomly select households, we applied GPS-based household localization and recruitment. Chronic pain was self-reported by 17.0% (95% CI: 10.8-25.7) of male and 34.7% (95% CI: 28.4-41.5) of female adult pastoralists. The prevalence of chronic pain increased with age from 5.4% (95% CI: 0.8-30.1; 18-34 years) to 27.1% (95% CI: 15.1-43.7; 35-54 years) to 69.1% (95% CI: 53.7-81.1; 55 years and older). The body sites most commonly affected among those with chronic pain were knees (37.2%), followed by lower back (33.7%) and head (23.3%). The data for the first time provide insights into the burden of chronic pain among Somali pastoralists and reveal associated risk factors. The results support the planning of locally adapted health interventions for pastoralist-specific pain management considering the effects of chronic pain on pastoralists’ daily lives.