Online Program

A review of access to eye-care services in Nigeria

Monday, November 2, 2015

Nelson Osuchukwu, OD, MPH, PhD, Department of Public Health, University of Calabar, Calabar, Nigeria
Antor O. Ndep, DrPH, CHES, Department of Public Health, University of Calabar, Calabar, Nigeria
Easter Osuchukwu, MSc. RN, Department of Nursing Sciences, University of Calabar, Calabar, Nigeria
Bernadine Ekpenyong, OD, MPH, PhD, FNCO, Department of Public Health, University of Calabar, Calabar, Nigeria
Jimmy Eko, BSc., MPH (c), Department of Public Health, University of Calabar, Calabar, Nigeria
Background: Visual impairment and blindness is a significant public health problem. In Nigeria the prevalence of visual impairment is almost 5%.

Objective: To identify barriers/facilitators to access to eye care services in Nigeria.

Methods: A systemic-review of previous studies on eye care in Nigeria was conducted through Biomed Central/Ophthalmology using the key words ‘eye care in Nigeria’.

Results: The key-word search revealed only 10 studies published between 2008 and 2014. Five of the 10 studies were about Eastern and Southern Africa, one about India and only four studies were about Nigeria. Three out of the four were research articles by authors from Nigerian Universities while the fourth one was a study protocol for the Nigeria National Blindness and Impairment survey (a multi-agency, multi-national collaboration). The main barriers to eye care especially among the disadvantaged, marginalized and poorer population include; cost of treatment, availability of eye services, absence of trained eye care providers, transportation or distance to health facility/eye clinic, low awareness level of available services, fear of operation/eye surgery and low eye care seeking behaviour. Strategies identified to alleviate the problems include improving training and distribution of eye care practitioners and public awareness of the range of low vision services, rehabilitation, support, counseling and available devices.

Conclusion: Exploring the potential of new technologies such as telemedicine is also crucial to improving access to specialist eye care especially in rural areas. Availability and access to eye care services are pivotal to eliminating visual impairment and preventable vision problems.

Learning Areas:

Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Other professions or practice related to public health
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Identify the barriers to access to eye care services in Nigeria. Describe possible remedies to the identified barriers.

Keyword(s): Accessibility, Vision Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been a Community Health Educator and researcher for the past 15 years focusing on access to care, and maternal and child health issues. Currently I am a faculty member at the University of Calabar College of Medical Sciences, developing and implementing health education programmes.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

Back to: 3112.0: Poster Session