Africa Journal of Rheumatology: enhancing the visibility of rheumatology in Africa

Genga EK, Oyoo O, Espinoza LR, Adebajo A. "Africa Journal of Rheumatology: enhancing the visibility of rheumatology in Africa.". 2017.


Africa Journal of Rheumatology: enhancing the visibility
of rheumatology in Africa
Eugene K. Genga1,2 & Omondi Oyoo1,2 & Luis R. Espinoza3 & Adewale Adebajo4
Received: 5 July 2017 /Accepted: 10 July 2017
# International League of Associations for Rheumatology (ILAR) 2017
Clinical Rheumatology welcomes the African Journal of
Rheumatology as an important development for the furtherance
of rheumatological scholarship and education on the
African continent and for rheumatology research in
Africans. It is hoped that this development will in turn raise
the profile of rheumatological conditions in Africa and among
Africans. In particular, it is hoped that this will lead to the
much needed collection of African musculoskeletal epidemiological
and health services data, assist in the training of
African rheumatologists, help to open up African rheumatology
to the global rheumatology community, and ultimately
improve the quality of care for myriads of Africans with rheumatic
The current population of Africa is 1,241,858,354
which is equivalent to 16.36% of the total world population
based on the latest United Nations estimates [1].
There are many challenges facing Africa including limited
financial resources, misuse of finances, malnutrition, poor
water, and sanitation among others. Despite these many
challenges faced in Africa, in recent times, the continent
has undergone rapid economic growth and development.
The available healthcare resources are overburdened by
the high burden of communicable diseases and the rising
prevalence of non-communicable diseases. Rheumatic
diseases are therefore not considered a high priority by
the various African governments. Part of the reason for
this is due to the limited epidemiological data on rheumatic
diseases and their burden in Africa. Scientific
journals play a central role in the dissemination of research
results which will ultimately impact on policy
change. Horton et al. [2] noted that researchers and policy
makers in developing countries believe that the main way
to solve problems of developing countries is by using
information from Western research rather than using local
data to solve regional problems. He, however, noted that
in Africa “there is already a well-developed local information
culture that needs support, not swamping,” noting,
moreover, the lack of African journals in MEDLINE [2].
Researchers in Africa and the developing world require
access not only as readers but also as authors: for them
to feel part of the global science community, they need
not only to obtain information but also to be able to contribute
to it and take part in the global discourse. The
continent’s resources are prioritized towards infectious
diseases like HIV and malaria over the now increasing
non-communicable diseases. Data on rheumatic diseases
in Africa has been limited partly due to lack of infrastructure
thus under diagnosis but also due to low scholarly
output. Thus, the Africa Journal of Rheumatology was
born. Since its inception 5 years ago, it has provided an
uninterrupted forum through which medical practitioners
and scientists from Africa and beyond can publish their
rheumatology research. It has become a rich source of
information about rheumatic disorders in the continent
and a timely addition to our worldwide rheumatology
community [3]. The journal has published various research
articles on diseases once thought to be rare in Africa. They
* Adewale Adebajo
1 Department of Clinical Medicine and Therapeutics, College of
Health Sciences, University of Nairobi/Kenyatta National Hospital,
Nairobi, Kenya
2 Nairobi Arthritis Clinic, Nairobi, Kenya
3 Louisiana State University School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA,
4 Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health, University of Sheffield,
Sheffield, UK
Clin Rheumatol
DOI 10.1007/s10067-017-3761-z
range from rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, gout, myositis to rheumatology
in HIV. Research articles published in the journal
shows rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, systemic
lupus erythematosus, and antiphospholipid syndrome to
be increasing in frequency in the indigenous populations of
East, West, Central, and Southern Africa [4–7]. The HIV pandemic
has changed the epidemiological spectrum of diseases
in Africa. It has led to an increase in a variety of previously
rarely seen conditions like spondyloarthropathies, fibromyalgia,
pyomyositis, and scleroderma. Various scholars have
shared their experiences in the journal [8–12]. The journal
has also provided a forum through which scholars have been
able to share their experiences in management of the rheumatic
diseases with biologic therapy. The results have been similar
to data from around the world [13, 14]. Case reports of rare
diseases and review articles have not been left out and have
enriched the content of the journal bringing diversity in the
articles published.
The visibility of the journal is hampered by the low scholarly
output. This is in part due to severe limitations in the
overall economic development and especially in research infrastructure.
Researchers have limited access to funding for
research as most African countries have no national agencies
that are responsible for research. This is compounded by limitations
in scientific writing, designing, and conducting research
and in reporting the results. Partnership with international
journals like the African Journal Partnership Project is
welcome to bridge that gap by training African health researchers
to improve the quality and visibility of their research
and make the Africa journal of rheumatology a better resource
for local researchers and policy makers [15].
This journal has become a site for exchange of knowledge
of local rheumatic diseases, research, and debate and providing
a forum through which international research can be made
applicable to the African set-up. The Africa Journal of
Rheumatology encourages international agencies, which conduct
research in the region to support the journal through
submission of research and subscription to the publication. It
is our hope that this journal will provide a big step to bridge
the big gaps in rheumatology in Africa.
Compliance with ethical standards
Disclosures None.
1. Worldometers (2017) (
2. Horton R (2000a) Development aid: manna or myth? Lancet 356:
3. Espinoza LR (2014) Welcoming an African asset: African Journal
of Rheumatology. Afr J Rheumatol 2(2):47–48
4. Otieno FO, Moots RJ, Oyoo GO (2017) Rheumatoid arthritis in
Kenya. Afr J Rheumatol 5(1):1–2
5. Akintayo RO, Aworinde OO, Olawumi HO, Yusuf IA (2016)
Antiphospholipid syndrome in Africa: a review. Afr J Rheumatol
6. Genga EK, Otieno FO, Oyoo GO (2015) Clinical profiles of patients
SLE in Nairobi. Afr J Rheumatol 3(2):62–66
7. Adelowo F (2013) Systemic lupus erythematosus: not a rare disease
among black Africans. Afr J Rheumatol 1(2):46–47
8. Oyoo GO, Genga EK, Otieno FO, Omondi EA (2016) Clinical
patterns of juvenile idiopathic arthritis: a single tertiary centre experience
in Kenya Nairobi. Afr J Rheumatol 4(2):66–71
9. Venkat R, Jawad ASM, Chikanza IC (2014) Spontaneous resolution
of a case of anti-retroviral treatment-naïve HIV-associated
polymyositis. Afr J Rheumatol 2(2):78–84
10. Ilovi S, Oyoo G (2013) Characteristics of systemic sclerosis patients
in Nairobi, Kenya: a retrospective study. Afr J Rheumatol 1(1):8–12
11. Malombe NM, Oyoo GO, Maritim MC, Kwasa J (2013) Prevalence
of fibromyalgia in ambulatory HIV positive patients with musculoskeletal
pain at Comprehensive Care Clinic, Kenyatta National
Hospital. Afr J Rheumatol 1(2):70–75
12. Ouédraogo DD, Ouédraogo T, Kaboré F et al (2013) Prevalence of
HIV infection among the patients with an avascular necrosis of the
femoral head in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso Ouédraogo. Afr J
Rheumatol 1(2):57–60
13. Oyoo GO, Otieno FO, Mbuthia B, Omondi EA, Genga EK (2015)
Experience with rituximab in patients with rheumatoid arthritis in
Nairobi, Kenya. Afr J Rheumatol 3(1):17–21
14. Elhabbash B, Tarsin R (2017) Certolizumab effect in a cohort of 60
Libyan patients with rheumatic diseases. Afr J Rheumatol 5(1):19–
15. Muula AS (2008) Medical journals and authorship in low-income
countries. Croat Med J 49:681–683

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