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      Adolescent sexual and reproductive health research in sub-Saharan Africa: a scoping review of substantive focus, research volume, geographic distribution and Africa-led inquiry

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          Abstract

          Background

          Previous review studies have not systematically mapped the existing body of knowledge on adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH) in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Our scoping review addresses this gap by examining how the body of research on ASRH in SSA has evolved over the past decade, and its present profile, in terms of trends in volume, geographic and substantive focus, and Africa-led inquiry.

          Methods

          We used a three-step search strategy to identify English and French peer-reviewed publications and relevant grey literature on ASRH in SSA published between January 2010 and December 2019. Two reviewers screened the titles, abstracts and full texts of publications for eligibility and inclusion.

          Results

          A total of 1302 articles were published over the period, rising from 91 in 2010 to 183 in 2015. However, the bulk of the studies (63.9%) focused on six (South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Ethiopia) of the 46 SSA countries. Ten countries had no ASRH papers, while five others each had only one publication. While issues like HIV (17.2%), sexual behaviours (17.4%) and access to sexual and reproductive health services (13.0%) received substantial attention, only a few studies focused on early adolescence (10–14 years), programme interventions, scaling up of interventions and policy evaluation. Just over half of publications had authors with African institutional affiliations as first authors (51.1%) or last author (53.0%). Sixteen per cent of papers did not include any authors from institutions in Africa.

          Conclusions

          Our review demonstrated that research on ASRH is limited in focus and is unevenly distributed across SSA countries. The identified gaps can guide future research and funding to advance ASRH policies and programmes. It is also vital for stakeholders in the research enterprise, including researchers, donors, ethical review boards, and journal editors and reviewers, to implement measures that foster national investigators’ inclusion.

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          Most cited references58

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          PRISMA Extension for Scoping Reviews (PRISMA-ScR): Checklist and Explanation

          Scoping reviews, a type of knowledge synthesis, follow a systematic approach to map evidence on a topic and identify main concepts, theories, sources, and knowledge gaps. Although more scoping reviews are being done, their methodological and reporting quality need improvement. This document presents the PRISMA-ScR (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for Scoping Reviews) checklist and explanation. The checklist was developed by a 24-member expert panel and 2 research leads following published guidance from the EQUATOR (Enhancing the QUAlity and Transparency Of health Research) Network. The final checklist contains 20 essential reporting items and 2 optional items. The authors provide a rationale and an example of good reporting for each item. The intent of the PRISMA-ScR is to help readers (including researchers, publishers, commissioners, policymakers, health care providers, guideline developers, and patients or consumers) develop a greater understanding of relevant terminology, core concepts, and key items to report for scoping reviews.
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            Scoping studies: towards a methodological framework

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              Global, regional, and national age-sex-specific mortality for 282 causes of death in 195 countries and territories, 1980–2017: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017

              Summary Background Global development goals increasingly rely on country-specific estimates for benchmarking a nation's progress. To meet this need, the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study (GBD) 2016 estimated global, regional, national, and, for selected locations, subnational cause-specific mortality beginning in the year 1980. Here we report an update to that study, making use of newly available data and improved methods. GBD 2017 provides a comprehensive assessment of cause-specific mortality for 282 causes in 195 countries and territories from 1980 to 2017. Methods The causes of death database is composed of vital registration (VR), verbal autopsy (VA), registry, survey, police, and surveillance data. GBD 2017 added ten VA studies, 127 country-years of VR data, 502 cancer-registry country-years, and an additional surveillance country-year. Expansions of the GBD cause of death hierarchy resulted in 18 additional causes estimated for GBD 2017. Newly available data led to subnational estimates for five additional countries—Ethiopia, Iran, New Zealand, Norway, and Russia. Deaths assigned International Classification of Diseases (ICD) codes for non-specific, implausible, or intermediate causes of death were reassigned to underlying causes by redistribution algorithms that were incorporated into uncertainty estimation. We used statistical modelling tools developed for GBD, including the Cause of Death Ensemble model (CODEm), to generate cause fractions and cause-specific death rates for each location, year, age, and sex. Instead of using UN estimates as in previous versions, GBD 2017 independently estimated population size and fertility rate for all locations. Years of life lost (YLLs) were then calculated as the sum of each death multiplied by the standard life expectancy at each age. All rates reported here are age-standardised. Findings At the broadest grouping of causes of death (Level 1), non-communicable diseases (NCDs) comprised the greatest fraction of deaths, contributing to 73·4% (95% uncertainty interval [UI] 72·5–74·1) of total deaths in 2017, while communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional (CMNN) causes accounted for 18·6% (17·9–19·6), and injuries 8·0% (7·7–8·2). Total numbers of deaths from NCD causes increased from 2007 to 2017 by 22·7% (21·5–23·9), representing an additional 7·61 million (7·20–8·01) deaths estimated in 2017 versus 2007. The death rate from NCDs decreased globally by 7·9% (7·0–8·8). The number of deaths for CMNN causes decreased by 22·2% (20·0–24·0) and the death rate by 31·8% (30·1–33·3). Total deaths from injuries increased by 2·3% (0·5–4·0) between 2007 and 2017, and the death rate from injuries decreased by 13·7% (12·2–15·1) to 57·9 deaths (55·9–59·2) per 100 000 in 2017. Deaths from substance use disorders also increased, rising from 284 000 deaths (268 000–289 000) globally in 2007 to 352 000 (334 000–363 000) in 2017. Between 2007 and 2017, total deaths from conflict and terrorism increased by 118·0% (88·8–148·6). A greater reduction in total deaths and death rates was observed for some CMNN causes among children younger than 5 years than for older adults, such as a 36·4% (32·2–40·6) reduction in deaths from lower respiratory infections for children younger than 5 years compared with a 33·6% (31·2–36·1) increase in adults older than 70 years. Globally, the number of deaths was greater for men than for women at most ages in 2017, except at ages older than 85 years. Trends in global YLLs reflect an epidemiological transition, with decreases in total YLLs from enteric infections, respiratory infections and tuberculosis, and maternal and neonatal disorders between 1990 and 2017; these were generally greater in magnitude at the lowest levels of the Socio-demographic Index (SDI). At the same time, there were large increases in YLLs from neoplasms and cardiovascular diseases. YLL rates decreased across the five leading Level 2 causes in all SDI quintiles. The leading causes of YLLs in 1990—neonatal disorders, lower respiratory infections, and diarrhoeal diseases—were ranked second, fourth, and fifth, in 2017. Meanwhile, estimated YLLs increased for ischaemic heart disease (ranked first in 2017) and stroke (ranked third), even though YLL rates decreased. Population growth contributed to increased total deaths across the 20 leading Level 2 causes of mortality between 2007 and 2017. Decreases in the cause-specific mortality rate reduced the effect of population growth for all but three causes: substance use disorders, neurological disorders, and skin and subcutaneous diseases. Interpretation Improvements in global health have been unevenly distributed among populations. Deaths due to injuries, substance use disorders, armed conflict and terrorism, neoplasms, and cardiovascular disease are expanding threats to global health. For causes of death such as lower respiratory and enteric infections, more rapid progress occurred for children than for the oldest adults, and there is continuing disparity in mortality rates by sex across age groups. Reductions in the death rate of some common diseases are themselves slowing or have ceased, primarily for NCDs, and the death rate for selected causes has increased in the past decade. Funding Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                BMJ Glob Health
                BMJ Glob Health
                bmjgh
                bmjgh
                BMJ Global Health
                BMJ Publishing Group (BMA House, Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9JR )
                2059-7908
                2021
                10 February 2021
                : 6
                : 2
                : e004129
                Affiliations
                [1]departmentPopulation Dynamics and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Unit , African Population and Health Research Center , Nairobi, Kenya
                Author notes
                [Correspondence to ] Emmanuel Oloche Otukpa; otukpa.emmanuel@ 123456gmail.com
                Author information
                http://orcid.org/0000-0002-6004-3972
                http://orcid.org/0000-0002-9370-3500
                Article
                bmjgh-2020-004129
                10.1136/bmjgh-2020-004129
                7878134
                33568395
                db77b176-9dbf-49eb-bea9-56de84f2f570
                © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2021. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.

                This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See:  http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.

                History
                : 08 October 2020
                : 18 January 2021
                : 20 January 2021
                Funding
                Funded by: FundRef http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/100004441, Styrelsen för Internationellt Utvecklingssamarbete;
                Award ID: 12103
                Categories
                Original Research
                1506
                Custom metadata
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                public health,review
                public health, review

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