Original Research

Knowledge and practices of eye health professionals about the availability and accessibility of child eye care services in the public sector in Swaziland

Velibanti Sukati, Vanessa R. Moodley, Khathutshelo P. Mashige
African Vision and Eye Health | Vol 78, No 1 | a471 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aveh.v78i1.471 | © 2019 Velibanti Sukati, Vanessa R. Moodley, Khathutshelo P. Mashige | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 August 2018 | Published: 30 July 2019

About the author(s)

Velibanti Sukati, Discipline of Optometry, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Vanessa R. Moodley, Discipline of Optometry, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Khathutshelo P. Mashige, Discipline of Optometry, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: International and African rights instruments stipulate that children have the right to access quality general and eye health care. Lack of access to quality eye care can have a significant negative impact on the child, family and society in general.

Aim: To determine the knowledge and practices of eye care professionals about the availability and accessibility of child eye care services in the public sector in Swaziland.

Setting: The study was conducted in Swaziland.

Methods: This was a quantitative study design, and 15 public eye health professionals completed and returned the Questionnaire for Eye Health Professionals (QEHP).

Results: Thirteen (86.7%) eye health practitioners reported that both standard practice guidelines and paediatric national guidelines for ophthalmic services were unavailable. The majority (66.7%) identified cost and unawareness of available services by parents as the most common barrier to accessing eye care services. Nine (60%) felt that they were less informed about eye health problems and 6 (40%) reported being well informed. Eight (53.3%) respondents indicated that there were no outreach programmes and 7 (46.7%) reported that their clinics offered these services. Thirteen (86.7%) eye health practitioners indicated that they were not part of teachers’ training for supporting visually impaired children, while 2 (13%) reported that they were.

Conclusion: Formulation of guidelines to support eye health care service delivery in Swaziland is essential in order to improve availability, accessibility, affordability and effectiveness in the public health system.


Keywords

Swaziland; children’s health; public health and education; eye health professionals

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