Objectives: The purpose of this study was to assess the status, supply, demographics, and characteristics of chiropractic practice in the continent of Africa.
Methods: A survey consisting of questions on demographics, clinical practice, and patient profile was administered to 608 chiropractors practicing in the different countries of the African continent. Chiropractic association officers of each country were contacted via e-mail for assistance in the distribution of the survey link to chiropractors in their country. The initial questionnaire was pretested with a small group of chiropractors from 2 African countries-4 from Ethiopia and 6 from Botswana-to assess the validity of the questions. The legal status of the chiropractic practice was obtained from online resources. Descriptive statistics were conducted in Microsoft Excel.
Results: Of the 54 countries in the continent of Africa, 23 countries were identified to have chiropractors. One hundred twenty-four surveys were returned from 15 countries with an overall response rate of 20.3% by clinicians with varying years in clinical practice. Nearly 84% of the chiropractors were between ages 26 and 50. More than 69% reported being a graduate of 1 of the 2 academic institutions located in Africa. Most chiropractors practice in South Africa. Most chiropractors practice in privately owned clinics, and 38% practice in multidisciplinary clinics. Nearly 92% reported using diversified technique and 27% used McKenzie exercises for treatment. Patients presented with a variety of conditions, predominantly chronic pain (59%).
Conclusions: This study provides a general overview on the status, supply, demographics, and characteristics of chiropractic practice in the continent of Africa. The supply of chiropractors in Africa is scarce and unevenly distributed. Although in the early stages of recognition, chiropractors in Africa are contributing to the care of people with musculoskeletal and spine-related disorders. Considering the high burden of spine pain, there appears to be potential for growth for chiropractic in the continent of Africa.
Author keywords: Chiropractic, Africa; Spinal; Low Back Pain; Primary Spine Care; Spine Pain
Author affiliations: HAM, RR: SCU Health Systems, Southern California University of Health Sciences, Whitter, California; JW: Health Services Research, Southern California University of Health Sciences, Whittier, California; SH: Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California; Department of Neurology, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, California; World Spine Care, Santa Ana, California
Corresponding author: HAM—Hiwot03@gmail.com
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