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Richard J. C. Bowman, Hannah Faal, Buba Jatta, Mark Myatt, Allen Foster, Gordon J. Johnson, Robin L. Bailey; Longitudinal Study of Trachomatous Trichiasis in The Gambia: Barriers to Acceptance of Surgery. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2002;43(4):936-940.
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purpose. Investigation of compliance with surgery for trachomatous trichiasis has become a priority of the World Health Organization. This study was conducted to investigate attitudes toward trichiasis and its treatment and to determine the rate of surgical uptake in The Gambia.
methods. A 1-year longitudinal study was performed in 190 subjects with trichiasis. Persons with major trichiasis (involving five lashes or more) were referred for surgery, and those with minor trichiasis were advised to epilate. Outcome measures included attitudes toward trichiasis and its treatment, reported barriers to surgical uptake, acceptance rates for surgery, and factors affecting acceptance.
results. Twenty-three percent (95% confidence interval [CI] 16.5%–30.6%) of subjects with major trichiasis attended for surgery during the year. Degree of ignorance about surgery, symptoms impeding work, and a multiple income source for the head of household predicted attendance. Reported lack of time predicted nonattendance. Sixty-eight percent of patients who had undergone surgery were trichiasis free at last follow-up.
conclusions. Poor attendance for surgery remains a problem in The Gambia. Barriers include ignorance and lack of time and money. Health education and surgical delivery strategies are needed to overcome these barriers. Regular audit of surgical results is necessary, with retraining where indicated.
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