Awareness of Glaucoma and Eye Health Services Among Faith-based Communities in Kumasi, Ghana

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Abstract

Purpose:

To determine awareness of glaucoma, “hinta anifraye” and available eye health services among urban communities in Kumasi, Ghana. “Hinta anifraye” is a recently developed term for glaucoma in the local Twi language.

Materials and Methods:

Convenience sampling was used to survey the communities of 4 churches and 2 mosques in Kumasi, recruiting participants as they arrived to attend religious services. Ten interviewers collected data by quantitative, interviewer-administered questionnaires. An awareness grading system was devised to categorize participant knowledge from level 0 to 4.

Results:

Of a total 484 respondents, 269 (56%; 95% confidence interval, 52%-60%) had heard of glaucoma, and 284 (60%; 95% confidence interval, 56%-64%) had heard of either glaucoma or hinta anifraye. Only 142 (29%) had disease-specific knowledge of symptoms or causes. TV and radio were the main reported sources of information. Education, religious community, English language, male sex, and older age were all found to be significant indicators of awareness, with education shown to be a key confounding factor. Overall 436 (90%) mentioned either a hospital or doctor as a place they knew they could seek help for an eye problem.

Conclusions:

Awareness of glaucoma is higher than previously suggested from similar studies, but still very low from a global perspective. The findings suggest that media is a useful tool in disseminating health messages. Awareness of professional care was found to be remarkably high. Eye health promotion is recommended to raise awareness of glaucoma among this population.

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