Epidemiology of rheumatoid arthritis in sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic review and meta-analysis protocol.
Background: So far, only one meta-analysis has estimated the prevalence of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in Africa. Out of 10 studies included in that meta-analysis, nine came from sub-Saharan African countries and had been published between 1968 and 1988. We will conduct a new systematic review and meta-analysis to update their estimates and provide more consistent prevalence data on RA in sub-Saharan Africa.
Methods: We will comprehensively search electronic databases to select observational studies addressing RA in sub-Saharan Africa and published as from 1 January 2000: PubMed, EMBASE, African Journals Online, Web of Science, and Global Index Medicus. Summary estimates will be derived through random-effects meta-analysis whenever possible. Alternatively, estimates will be reported through narrative synthesis when the random-effects meta-analysis will be impossible. The risk of bias will be assessed using standard methods. Discussion: This systematic review and meta-analysis shall quantify the magnitude of RA morbidity and mortality in sub-Saharan Africa. Results from this review will be disseminated in peer-reviewed journals, conferences and on social media platforms. Systematic review registration: PROSPERO CRD42020153483.