INTRODUCTION: Stroke is a prominent cause of death, disability, and dementia in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The Stroke Investigative Research and Education Network works collaboratively with stroke survivors and individuals serving as community controls to comprehensively characterize the genomic, sociocultural, economic and behavioral risk factors for stroke in SSA. PURPOSE: In this paper, we aim to: i) explore the attitudes, beliefs, and practices related to stroke in Ghana and Nigeria using the process of qualitative description; and ii) propose actions for future research and community-based participation and education. METHODS: Stroke survivors, their caregivers, health care professionals, and community representatives and faith-based leaders participated in one of twenty-six focus groups, which qualitatively explored community beliefs, attitudes and practices related to stroke in Ghana and Nigeria. Arthur Kleinman's Explanatory Model of Illness and the Social Ecological Model guided the questions and/or thematic analysis of the qualitative data. We hereby describe our focus group methods and analyses of qualitative data, as well as the findings and suggestions for improving stroke outcomes. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: The major findings illustrate the fears, causes, chief problems, treatment, and recommendations related to stroke through the views of the participants, as well as recommendations for working effectively with the SIREN communities. Findings are compared to SIREN quantitative data and other qualitative studies in Africa. As far as we are aware, this is the first paper to qualitatively explore and contrast community beliefs, attitudes, and practices among stroke survivors and their caregivers, community and faith-based leaders, and health professionals in multiple communities within Nigeria and Ghana.