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Cataract surgical uptake among older adults in Ghana

EM Ackuaku-Dogbe
AE Yawson
RB Biritwum


Objectives: In sub-Saharan Africa, cataract surgical services are highly inadequate and surgical uptake for cataract is low. This paper describes cataract surgical uptake among older adults in Ghana.
Methods: This work was based on World Health Organization’s multi-country Study on global Ageing and adult health (SAGE), conducted in six countries including Ghana. Wave one of SAGE in Ghana was conducted in 2007-2008 as collaboration between WHO and Department of Community Health, University of Ghana Medical School. A nationally representative sample of 5571 older adults (≥50 years) and a small sample of persons 18-49 years were interviewed. Data was obtained on uptake of cataract surgery in older adults and analyzed using descriptive measures and chi square for associations in categorical outcome measures.
Results: Overall surgical uptake was 48.9% among older adults and was slightly higher among older men (49.1%) than women (48%). Cataract surgical uptake was relatively higher in the 60-69 years group (55%), urban residents (52.6%) and those living without partners (50%). Educational and income levels of older persons did not affect cataract surgical uptake. Regional differences in cataract surgical uptake existed; was less than 60% in all ten regions (except one), and the two regions with most self-reported cataracts (Ashanti and Greater Accra) had less than 50% uptake.
Conclusions: Intensive public education, engagement of community groups and increased access to cataract surgery at health facilities and outreach services need consideration at national/sub-national levels. Further investigations to garner equity in national eye care efforts are recommended.

Keywords: Older adult, cataract, cataract surgical uptake, regions, Ghana