Rarity and Limited Geographical Coverage of Individual Level Alcohol Interventions in Sub Saharan Africa: Findings from a Scoping Review
A previous review on brief alcohol interventions in sub-Sahara Africa showed most of the interventions were implemented in East and Southern Africa. The study carried a scoping review to assess the current amount and types of alcohol interventions in SSA.
The researchers searched six databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, Global Health, Africa-wide, CINAHL and PsycINFO) for publications prior to June 2018. The study used the search terms for alcohol use, alcohol intervention and African countries’ names. The study identified 59 papers on alcohol interventions of which 26 were eligible for inclusion in the final analysis.
Of the 26 eligible papers, 18(69 %) were carried out in South Africa. Majority 15(58%) of the interventions were randomized clinical trial, followed by seven (27%) quasi-experimental and evaluation of the intervention and five (19%) cluster randomized trials. Most of the studies targeted patients and pregnant women. Only a few studies focused on sex workers and students.
The findings show that the assessment of effectiveness of individual level alcohol interventions is rare in SSA. In addition, these interventions were polarized in two countries. There is an urgent need for an evidence base on the effectiveness of alcohol interventions commensurate with the scope of the problem in SSA.