Evaluation of all African clinical practice guidelines for hypertension: Quality and opportunities for improvement

Patrick Okwen, Irene Maweu, Karen Grimmer, Janine Margarita Dizon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Rationale, aims, and objectives:
Good-quality clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) provide recommendations based on current best-evidence summaries. Hypertension is a prevalent noncommunicable disease in Africa, with disastrous sequelae (stroke, heart, and kidney disease). Its effective management relies on good quality, current, locally relevant evidence. This paper reports on an all African review of the guidance documents currently informing hypertension management.

Attempts were made to contact 62 African countries for formal guidance documents used nationally to inform diagnosis and management of hypertension. Their quality was assessed by using Appraisal of Guidelines for Research & Evaluation (AGREE) II, scored by 2 independent reviewers. Differences in domain scores were compared between documents written prior to 2011 and 2011 onward. Findings were compared with earlier African CPG reviews.

Guidelines and protocols were provided by 26 countries. Six used country-specific stand-alone hypertension guidelines, and 10 used protocols embedded in Standard Treatment Guidelines for multiple conditions. Six used guidelines developed by the World Health Organization, and 4 indicated ad hoc use of international guidance (US, Portugal, and Brazil). Only 1 guidance document met CPG construction criteria, and none scored well on all AGREE domain scores. The lowest-scoring domain was rigour of development. There was no significant quality difference between pre-2011 and post-2011 guidance documents, and there were variable AGREE II scores for the same CPGs when comparing the African reviews.

The quality of hypertension guidance used by African nations could be improved. The need for so many guidance documents is questioned. Adopting a common evidence base from international good-quality CPGs and layering it with local contexts offer 1 way to efficiently improve African hypertension CPG quality and implementation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)565-574
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice
Issue number4
Early online date14 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Africa
  • clinical practice guidelines
  • hypertension
  • protocols
  • quality scores


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