To perform an epidemiological study of the prevalence of diabetes in Mauritania, West Africa, with little data available on diabetes in West Africa.


The study was performed with a representative sample of the Mauritanian population. A random selection of the study population (n = 744) was drawn by a cluster sampling method. Screening for diabetes was made by capillary blood glucose (CBG) measurement, using strips analyzed by reflectance meter. Criteria for the diagnosis of diabetes were those of the World Health Organization (WHO).


The survey performed a screening of 744 subjects whose sex distribution was 307 men and 437 women. Their mean age was 34.6 ± 15.2 years, and their mean BMI was 22.7 ± 5.1 kg/m2, with a significant difference for BMI between men (20.0 ± 2.9 kg/m2) and women (24.3 ± 5.5 kg/m2). According to the study criteria, we found 14 diabetic patients (4 men, 10 women). The crude prevalence of diabetes was 1.88% (95% CI 0.90–2.86). The difference in prevalence by sex was 1.30% (95% CI 0.00–2.60) for men and 2.29% (95% CI 0.89–3.43) for women. For the truncated 30- to 64-year-old age-group, the crude prevalence was 2.84%; the age-adjusted prevalence for the same 30- to 64-year-old age-group, using the standardized age distribution of Segi (10), was 2.61%.


With a crude prevalence of diabetes of 1.88% and an age-adjusted prevalence of 2.61%, Mauritania may be classified among the countries with a low prevalence of diabetes, a finding which is not surprising, considering the low level of development of this region of Africa.

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