The prevalence of blindness and visual impairment are still of public health importance worldwide and yet underutilisation of available eyecare services are still rampant. Therefore, there is continuing need to study the barriers to eyecare uptake.
To identify barriers to eye surgical uptake in the only teaching hospital in Sagamu, Ogun State, in South-Western Nigeria.
The study was done at the eye clinic of Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital [OOUTH], Sagamu, Nigeria. This is the only state-owned tertiary eye centre in Ogun State. It serves an approximate population of 3 million.
All patients who had attended at least 2 follow-up clinics between February and June 2010, and consented to be included in the study were interviewed, and additional information from their case notes were coded and recorded in the software SPSS version 16. This was then analysed for frequencies of variables.
One hundred and sixty-seven (167) respondents were interviewed, comprising 92 males and 75 females, with an age range between 1 and 90 years. 106(63.9%) indicated encountering one form of barrier or the other since attending the eye clinic, out of which 64 were females and 42 males. The types of barriers encountered were: Cost of hospital services [28.3%], fear of surgery [24.1%], long waiting time to see the doctor [23.5%], accessibility to the hospital [16.9%], lack of electricity in the hospital [10.8%], and frequent strikes by health workers [7.2%].
The commonest barriers to eye surgical care in this study are comparable to those in previous studies but in different proportions and calls for an urgent need to ensure affordable and sustainable surgical care, so as to achieve the goals of vision 2020.