Shared decision making in West Africa: The forgotten area

Type Journal Article - Zeitschrift fur Evidenz, Fortbildung und Qualitat im Gesundheitswesen
Title Shared decision making in West Africa: The forgotten area
Volume 123-124
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2017
Page numbers 7-11
Up to now, little attention has been paid to West Africa when it comes to shared decision making (SDM). West African countries seem to lag behind with regard to SDM initiatives compared to many other countries in the world. There is some interest in informed decision making or informed consent, but little in a full SDM process. Few decision-making tools are available for healthcare professionals and the majority are not designed to support decision-making with patients. Furthermore, to the best of our knowledge, there are no training programs for implementing SDM in healthcare teams. Many barriers exist to implementing SDM in West Africa, including lack of options, few or poor health resources and low levels of education. However, African countries present many opportunities for SDM as well. Existing SDM innovations developed for other populations with low literacy could be explored and adapted to the West African context, and research on implementation and outcomes in West Africa could contribute to SDM worldwide. West African countries are in an excellent position to both learn from other countries and contribute to SDM development in other parts of the world. In this paper we reflect on SDM challenges and opportunities, and propose a research agenda for West Africa. We hope to awaken interest in SDM in West Africa and encourage future collaborations on SDM with various West African stakeholders, including patients, healthcare professionals, policymakers, non-government organisations (NGOs) and academic institutions.

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