Traditional eye practices: a facility-based study in North Central Nigeria
Aim: To determine the magnitude and the types of traditional eye treatments among new patients attending COCIN Rehabilitation centre, Mangu, Plateau State, Nigeria.
Materials and Methods: This was a cross-sectional, facility-based study conducted between July 2013 and June 2014 on new patients seen in the eye unit of Church of Christ in the Nations (COCIN) Rehabilitation Centre, Mangu. Data was collected on all new patients attending the outpatient eye unit of the hospital using a structured open-ended interviewer questionnaire. Information on patient demographics; use of traditional eye medication and manipulations and factors that determine choice of traditional treatment was recorded.
Results: A total of 3,113 consecutive patients who attended the eye unit participated in this study. The use of traditional eye treatment was reported by 134 (4.3%) participants. There was a statistically significant association between the use of traditional eye treatment and residence (÷=33.658, p<0.001), age (÷=17.785, p<0.001) and occupation of patients (÷=423.9, p<0.001). The main type of traditional eye medicine used was the extract from crushed leaves/roots (40; 37.1%) that is instilled into the conjunctiva sac. The providers of traditional eye treatment were mainly traditional healers (88; 65.7%). The main reason reported for the choice of traditional eye treatment was the belief in its potency.
Conclusion: Considerable numbers of patients still use traditional eye treatment to meet their eye health needs. There is a need for health education of the general public about the deleterious effects of traditional eye treatment. There is also the need to upgrade primary eye care programs with greater emphasis on eye care during the training of nurses, community health officers (CHO) and community health extension workers (CHEW).
Keywords: Traditional, Eye, Medication, Education