Original Research

Knowledge and practices of teachers about child eye healthcare in the public sector in Swaziland

Velibanti N. Sukati, Kathutshelo P. Mashige, Vanessa R. Moodley
African Vision and Eye Health | Vol 80, No 1 | a613 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aveh.v80i1.613 | © 2021 Velibanti Sukati, Kathutshelo Percy Mashige, Vanessa Raquel Moodley | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 September 2020 | Published: 21 September 2021

About the author(s)

Velibanti N. Sukati, Department of Optometry, School of Healthcare Sciences, University of Limpopo, Polokwane, South Africa
Kathutshelo P. Mashige, Department of Optometry, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Vanessa R. Moodley, Department of Optometry, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Vision-related problems have a negative impact on the learning abilities and school performance of a child. Adequate knowledge and practices of teachers enable the early identification and intervention of school children with visual deficits.

Aim: This study aimed to investigate the knowledge and practices of teachers about child eye healthcare in the public education system in Swaziland.

Setting: The setting for this study was Swaziland.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional quantitative study using a survey instrument containing closed-ended questions to investigate the knowledge and practices of teachers about child eye health in the public sector.

Results: Two hundred and forty-three (N = 243) teachers responded to the questionnaire. The majority (90.1%) of teachers indicated that they were able to detect signs and symptoms of eye diseases. Most teachers without a family member wearing spectacles were more likely to be informed about eye health (p = 0.001) than those who had family wearing spectacles. A significant proportion (44%) of teachers indicated that refractive errors were not serious among school children. Above one-third (38.7%) of the teachers indicated that they referred children with vision problems to public hospitals. One hundred and fifty-five (63.8%) reported that health officials have never visited their schools. One hundred and forty-nine (61.3%) teachers agreed that they did not monitor children wearing spectacles and 94 (38.7%) monitored them. Monitoring children wearing spectacles was significantly associated with teachers who indicated being well informed about eye health (p < 0.001) and teachers who were more likely to advise parents to take their children for eye testing (p = 0.003).

Conclusion: The lack of adequate knowledge by some teachers may contribute to the already existing barriers for children to access eye health. Addressing the broader issues of child eye health requires the participation of well-trained and knowledgeable teachers.


Keywords

children; eye health; teachers and eye care awareness; public health and education; teachers

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