A systemic review of barriers to accessing paediatric eye care services in African countries
Background: Global estimate reported that 1.4 million children are blind of which three-quarters live in developing countries. Childhood Visual Impairment is a major public health problem globally especially in rural areas of developing countries.
Objective: To review barriers to accessing paediatric eye care services in African countries
Methods: The studies in this review were searched in online databases (PubMed, Web of Sciences, ProQuest, Scopus, Google Scholar, African Index Medicus and Medline) for studies published between January 2000 and April 2020. The articles included in this review, which was conducted in Africa to assess the barriers for accessing paediatric eye care services with regards availability, accessibility, affordability, socio cultural barriers of parents/caregivers and community.
Results: Of 22 705 articles screened, the study found 29 publications from 10 African countries which met the inclusion criteria. The main barriers were non-availability, non-accessibility, and non-affordability of paediatric eye care services. The studies reviewed revealed that there are other factors affecting the utilization of paediatric eye services which include the primary health system, geographic barriers, health beliefs, perception of parents; lack of knowledge, attitudes and practices about paediatric eye care. Furthermore, environmental, demographic barriers and socio-economic status has negative impact on accessing paediatric eye care services in African counties.
Conclusion: The main barriers to accessing paediatric eye care services in Africa were affordability, accessibility and availability. There is therefore a need for all relevant stakeholders to play a significant role in addressing barriers to child eye care
in African countries.
Keywords: Paediatric eye care; Africa; availability; accessibility; affordability; visual impairment; refractive errors.
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