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Functional Neurosurgery in Africa: A Scoping Review (lay summary)

This is a lay summary of the article published under the DOI: 10.31730/

Published onJun 20, 2023
Functional Neurosurgery in Africa: A Scoping Review (lay summary)

What do we know about “functional neurosurgery” work in Africa?

Functional Neurological (FN) diseases like epilepsy or Parkinson's disease affect and kill many people in Africa. Doctors can do operations to help FN patients, but the operations are very expensive and not done often. The situation in Africa is also worsened by the low number of specialised doctors and hospitals. And the few specialised hospitals available do not have enough equipment and capacity.

There is a high prevalence of these conditions in developing countries in general, and it slows down economic progress and increases poverty. There is also limited information about these conditions in Africa, making it even more difficult to manage them.

Researchers wanted to review the available scientific literature to see how much work was being done on FN and to check on the available resources in Africa. They also wanted to identify countries with high numbers of FN diseases, and the number of people who could access health care when they have FN disease.

They proposed to search for research papers on ‘Functional Neurosurgery Interventions in Africa’ from databases. They would then use the information to analyse the work done on FN in Africa.

Before writing this proposal, the researchers had met with specialised doctors and patients in order to develop their research questions, like where, how many and which FN operations are done in Africa. They also developed questions on why such operations are done in Africa. The researchers also wanted to know about the barriers to FN in Africa. 

They said if successful, they would share their results in scientific journals, international conferences and social media when they had completed their study.

The researchers were based in universities in Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo and Russia.


Functional neurosurgery covers a set of neurosurgical techniques that aims at restoring functional neurologic disorders. In Africa, less data is available to map out this activity, though the increased prevalence of diseases such as epilepsy or Parkinson's disease, which results in a high morbidity and mortality rate. However, functional neurosurgery remains very scarce and costly in these countries, hence difficult to implement. A scoping review will be performed to map functional neurosurgery activities in Africa. The Arksey and O’Malley’s scoping review methodology will be used to collect data, and a PRISMA chart used to follow-up data.


This summary is a free resource intended to make African research and research that affects Africa, more accessible to non-expert global audiences. It was compiled by ScienceLink's team of professional African science communicators as part of the Masakhane MT: Decolonise Science project. ScienceLink has taken every precaution possible during the writing, editing, and fact-checking process to ensure that this summary is easy to read and understand, while accurately reporting on the facts presented in the original research paper. Note, however, that this summary has not been fact-checked or approved by the authors of the original research paper, so this summary should be used as a secondary resource. Therefore, before using, citing or republishing this summary, please verify the information presented with the original authors of the research paper, or email [email protected] for more information.

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