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Eye care seeking behaviour: a study of the people of Cape Coast Metropolis of Ghana

Stephen Ocansey, Samuel Kyei, Bismark Nyarko Gyedu, Agnes Awuah.

Abstract
Background: In developing countries, majority of the people do not receive optimal eye care due to barriers which limit their access to appropriate eye care services. The population in need of eye care therefore resort to alternative and accessible eye care services across and within in their communities.
Aim: The aim of the study was to assess the eye care seeking behaviour among people in the Cape Coast metropolis.
Methods: A population based survey was conducted in the Cape Coast metropolis of Ghana, between February and May 2013 and the data was analysed in July 2013. Responses of pretested semi structured questionnaire covering aspects of attitudes and practices towards eye care was obtained from 700 participants who were 18 years and older in the Cape Coast metropolis. Households were systematically and randomly selected.
Results: Among the study participants of 700, 54.1% have never had their eyes examined at any health facilities despite reported episodes of eye disease. Their main reason being the perception that their ocular symptom were of minor diseases (185, 45.2%) and cost of seeking eye care (126, 30.8%). Majority of the respondents (60.6%) who had not enrolled onto the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) had never had their eyes checked as compared to those who were on health insurance (39.5%).
Conclusion: The people of the metropolis have poor Eye health seeking behaviour with preference for alternative eye care services.

Key words: Eye care services, behaviour, ocular symptoms, barrier



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