Gathering Baseline Data for a Rural Cataract Surgical Outreach Service in Igabi District, Nigeria

  • MM Rabiu
  • CP Ozemela
  • DI Apiafi


Background: In an effort to plan for effective community-based cataract surgical services in Igabi district of northern Nigeria, the National Eye Centre, Kaduna (a tertiary eye hospital) conducted a population-based cross sectional survey in the district. The survey was conducted in order to generate baseline data on cataract blindness in the district. Methods: A total of 2044 people out of 2400 eligible people were examined. The study population was chosen by two-stage cluster random sampling. In the first sampling stage, 30 clusters/wards were randomly chosen, while in the final stage, 80 people who were 40 years and over were selected in each ward. Each of the selected persons had visual acuity recorded for both eyes. Those with vision less than 3/60 in the better eye were assessed for cataract. People with cataract were asked why they had not sought medical attention. Results: A blindness prevalence of 4.1% (95% CI 3.2%-5.0%) was found among the sampled population. Cataract was responsible for 52.3% of the blindness. Thus, the prevalence of cataract blindness was found to be 2.2% (95% CI 1.6%-2.8%). The cataract surgical coverage (people) was 12.8% and the couching coverage (people) was 10.3%. The main barrier to seeking cataract surgery was the inability to afford the cost of service (61.5%). Conclusion: Districts with a high burden of cataract blindness should be provided with free or highly subsidized cataract outreach programmes with effective publicity and high quality surgery.

Keywords: cataract blindness, Igabi, Nigeria

Nigerian Journal of Opthalmology Vol. 15 (2) 2007: pp. 64-68

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eISSN: 2468-8363
print ISSN: 0189-9171