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West Afr J Med. 2012 Jan-Mar;31(1):8-13.

Beliefs and attitudes towards dementia among community leaders in northern Nigeria.

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Department of Psychiatry, Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria, Nigeria.



Dementia is an important devastating disease in old age. The number of dementia cases is in increasing worldwide with majority of them living in developing countries; however awareness about this important disease is poor especially in these developing countries.


This study aimed at determining the beliefs and attitude of community leaders on dementia in Northern Nigeria.


A cross sectional descriptive study was done using a structured questionnaire answered in Yes or No pattern. The questions were derived from the informant section of Community Screening Interview for Dementia and Blessed Dementia Scale. Fifty seven traditional rulers and fourty three Islamic clerics were interviewed. Data obtained was analysed using SPSS for windows version 11.0.


The mean age of the participants was 57.76 ± 11. 10 years and 28% were over the age off 65 years. The result showed that 77 (77%) of the subject believed that dementia is a normal process of aging. This was significantly associated with educational status but not age of the participants. The most recognisable symptoms are psychotic features of dementia (82%), while difficulty in dressing (56%) is the least recognisable symptom. Most of the participants would refer a person with features suggestive of dementia to see a physician.


The study demonstrated that the belief dementia is a normal process ageing is common among these community leader. Therefore there is need to carry out awareness campaign to educate them.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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