Three year follow up of levodopa plus carbidopa treatment in a prevalent cohort of patients with Parkinson's disease in Hai, Tanzania

Document Type



Imaging and Diagnostic Radiology (East Africa)


It was previously thought that the prevalence of Parkinson's disease (PD) in developing countries, and in particular sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), was lower than the rest of the world. The Hai PD prevalence project [1] diagnosed 32 patients (the majority previously undiagnosed and untreated) with PD from a population of 161,000, giving age standardised prevalence rates of 64 (men) and 20 (women)/100,000, respectively. Subsequently, drug treatment has been commenced for all surviving patients with annual follow up. The aim of the study was to document response to treatment, development of side effects, progression of disease and feasibility and sustainability of supplying medication to patients in rural Tanzania. Eleven patients died before the start of medication, and a further four during follow up. One patient moved away from the study area. At the end of 3 years of treatment, 16 patients were surviving. Only one stopped medication due to side effects (dyskinesia). At 3 years, 9/16 experienced wearing off and a further three had dyskinesias. Non motor symptoms were a problem at initial assessment [2] and continued to be a problem for many of the patients. We have shown that it is possible to find, treat and follow up patients with PD in a rural sub-Saharan African setting. Availability of affordable medication locally is a major issue. Acknowledging that movement disorders and neurological diseases in general are an issue in this setting is important to drive education and training, and for allocation of funding from health care providers in SSA.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.


Journal of Neurology