Alternate eye care services in a Ghanaian district
AbstractObjective: To determine eye care services sought outside the regular hospital system and their providers.
Study setting: Akwapim South district.
Method: Questionnaire survey and in depth interviews.
Results: We recruited 1,537 persons with a previous history of eye disease and alternate service providers (21 chemical shop attendants and 55 herbalists). There was no significant difference between patronage of the regular and the alternative providers (p value 0.78). Most of the herbalists were trained by relations; parents (29/55) and grandparents (10/55). Two thirds had some formal education and 96% practiced part-time. Over 75% claimed they treated cataracts, eye injuries, and “kooko” and 28% also treated red eyes. Chemical shop attendants were all literates, sold only antibiotic eye drops, and 64% practiced full time.
Conclusions: Herbalists and chemical sellers provided substantive eye care along the regular hospital services but some of their practices may be harmful.
Keywords: primary eye care, cataract, traditional medicine, self medication, parallel care
Ghana Medical Journal Vol. 39(1) 2005: 19-23
Articles published in the Ghana Medical Journal may not be published elsewhere without the consent of the publishers. Request for consent for reproduction of material published in the Ghana Medical Journal should be addressed to the Editor-in-Chief. The publisher of this Journal reserves the right of copyright of all articles published in the Journal. It should also be understood by all authors that articles approved for publication in the journal are also deemed for publication online by the publisher.
Ghana Medical Journal is an Open Access journal and applies the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (Creative Commons Attribution License) 4.0 International. See details on the Creative Commons website (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) to articles and other content published in the Journal.