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Common mental disorders, particularly unipolar depressive disorders, rank among the top 5 with respect to the global burden of disease. As a major public health concern, antepartum depression and anxiety not only affects the individual woman, but also her offspring. Data on the prevalence of common mental disorders in pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa are scarce. We provide results from Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire.
We subsequently recruited and screened n=1030 women in the third trimester of their pregnancy for depressed mood, general anxiety, and perceived disability using the Patient Health Questionnaire depression module (PHQ-9), the 7-item Anxiety Scale (GAD-7), and the World Health Organisation Disability Assessment Schedule II (WHO-DAS 2.0, 12-item version). In addition to estimates of means and prevalence, a hierarchical linear regression model was calculated to determine the influence of antepartum depression and anxiety on disability.
In Ghana, 26.6% of women showed substantially depressed mood. In Côte d'Ivoire, this figure was even higher (32.9%). Clear indications for a generalized anxiety disorder were observed in 11.4% and 17.4% of pregnant women, respectively. Comorbidity of both conditions was common, affecting about 7.7% of Ghanaian and 12.6% of Ivorian participants. Pregnant women in both countries reported a high degree of disability regarding everyday activity limitations and participation restrictions. Controlled for country and age, depression and anxiety accounted for 33% of variance in the disability score.
depression and anxiety were highly prevalent in our sample and contributed substantially to perceived disability. These serious threats to health must be further investigated and more data are needed to comprehensively quantify the problem in sub-Saharan Africa.