Kidney disease among children in sub-Saharan Africa: systematic review.


The global burden of kidney disease is increasing, and several etiologies first begin in childhood. Risk factors for pediatric kidney disease are common in Africa, but data regarding its prevalence are lacking. We completed a systematic review of community-based studies describing the prevalence of proteinuria, hematuria, abnormal imaging, or kidney dysfunction among children in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Medline and Embase were searched. Five hundred twenty-three references were reviewed. Thirty-two references from nine countries in SSA were included in the qualitative synthesis. The degree of kidney damage and abnormal imaging varied widely: proteinuria 32.5% (2.2-56.0%), hematuria 31.1% (0.6-67.0%), hydronephrosis 11.3% (0.0-38.0%), hydroureter 7.5% (0.0-26.4%), and major kidney abnormalities 0.1% (0.0-0.8%). Serum creatinine was reported in four studies with insufficient detail to identify the prevalence renal dysfunction. A majority of the studies were performed in Schistosoma haematobium endemic areas. A lower prevalence of kidney disease was observed in the few studies from nonendemic areas. Published data on pediatric kidney disease in SSA are highly variable and dependent on S. haematobium prevalence. More community-based studies are needed to describe the burden of pediatric kidney disease, particularly in regions where S. haematobium infection is nonendemic.