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01.12.2015 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2015 Open Access

BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 1/2015

Gender disparities of chronic musculoskeletal disorder burden in the elderly Ghanaian population: study on global ageing and adult health (SAGE WAVE 1)

BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders > Ausgabe 1/2015
Emmanuel Kweku Nakua, Easmon Otupiri, Veronica Millicent Dzomeku, Ellis Owusu-Dabo, Peter Agyei-Baffour, Alfred Edwin Yawson, Gloria Folson, Sandra Hewlett
Wichtige Hinweise
Emmanuel Kweku Nakua Easmon Otupiri Veronica Millicent Dzomeku Ellis Owusu-Dabo and Alfred Edwin Yawson contributed equally to this work.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interest. The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors. No official endorsement by the World Health Organization or Ministry of Health of Ghana/Ghana Health Service is intended or should be inferred.

Authors’ contributions

EKN, EO, VMD, EOD and PAB initiated the paper and drafted the initial manuscript. EKN performed the statistical analysis. AEY, GF and SH participated in the large study design and coordinate data collection and helped to draft the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



Traditionally, non-communicable diseases including musculoskeletal disorders have not been a priority in low-and-middle income countries. The main aim of this paper is to assess age and gender specific burden by estimating the current prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders and associated risk factors in the elderly Ghanaian population.


Between May 2007 and June 2008, the World Health Organization conducted a nationwide study on AGEing (SAGE) and Adult Health in Ghana. The study employed a multistage cluster sampling strategy to identify participants by stratifying the population by age and setting. A structured questionnaire was used for data collection. A Poisson regression model was fitted with robust error variance. Prevalence estimates took into account the complex survey design and sampling weights. Statistical significance was considered at p ≤ 0.05 significance level. Statistical analysis was performed with STATA version 11.2.


The prevalence rates of chronic back pain and chronic arthritis/joints pain were higher in women than men. The overall crude prevalence’s rates were 28.2 and 10.7 % for chronic back pain and chronic arthritis/joints pain respectively. Substantial differences existed between men and women in terms of socio-economic status, education level and occupational status. Women with primary education had a chronic back pain prevalence of 36.2 % (95 % CI; 29.2, 43.3) and chronic arthritis/joints pain prevalence of 15.8 % (95 % CI; 11.1, 20.6) while their male counterparts had prevalence rates of 29.0 % (95 % CI; 23.4, 34.5) and 9.8 % (95 % CI; 6.4, 13.2) respectively. Residence (rural and urban) did not appear to influence the prevalence of chronic back pain and arthritis/joints pain.


Our findings suggest the existence of sex differences in chronic back pain and chronic arthritis/joint pain in the elderly population in Ghana after adjustment for demographic and socio-economic factors. It indicates the existence of inequalities in health between elderly men and women with women suffering more from chronic back pain and chronic arthritis/joints pain.
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