December 4, 2020

Translation and Validation of an Epilepsy-Screening Questionnaire in Three Nigerian Languages

Abstract, published in Epilepsy & Behavior

Objective: We describe the development, translation and validation of epilepsy-screening questionnaires in the three most popular Nigerian languages: Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba.

Methods: A 9-item epilepsy-screening questionnaire was developed by modifying previously validated English language questionnaires. Separate multilingual experts forward- and back-translated them to the three target languages. Translations were discussed with fieldworkers and community members for ethnolinguistic acceptability and comprehension. We used an unmatched affected-case versus unaffected-control design for the pilot study. Cases were people with epilepsy attending the tertiary hospitals where these languages are spoken. The controls were relatives of cases or people attending for other medical conditions. An affirmative response to any of the nine questions amounted to a positive screen for epilepsy.

Results: We recruited 153 (75 cases and 78 controls) people for the Hausa version, 106 (45 cases and 61 controls) for Igbo and 153 (66 cases and 87 controls) for the Yoruba. The sensitivity and specificity of the questionnaire were: Hausa (97.3% and 88.5%), Igbo (91.1% and 88.5%) and Yoruba (93.9% and 86.7%). The three versions reliably indicated epilepsy with positive predictive values of 85.9% (Hausa), 85.4% (Igbo) and 87.3% (Yoruba) and reliably excluded epilepsy with negative predictive values of 97.1% (Hausa), 93.1% (Igbo) and 95.1% (Yoruba). Positive likelihood ratios were all greater than one.

Conclusions: Validated epilepsy screening questionnaires are now available for the three languages to be used for community-based epilepsy survey in Nigeria. The translation and validation process are discussed to facilitate usage and development for other languages in sub-Saharan Africa.