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Free Content Regular provision of outreach increases acceptance of cataract surgery in South India

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Objectives  The prevalence of visual loss and blindness from cataract remains high in India. Marginalized communities are frequently reached through outreach clinics. The aim of this study was to explore the hypothesis that regular outreach, held in the same location by the same provider, leads to greater acceptance of cataract surgery than outreach clinics that are irregular in terms of timing and location.

Methods  The study was integrated into outreach clinics run in two districts by Sankara Eye Centre, Coimbatore, Southern India. A semi‐structured questionnaire was administered to patients who had attended outreach eye clinics and either accepted or not accepted the offer of cataract surgery.

Results  Overall acceptance of surgery was high (91.7%), being higher in the district with regular outreach (94.6%vs. 82.3%, P < 0.001). A total of 398 participants (240, 60% acceptors) were interviewed. Acceptors were more likely to live in smaller households and in supportive families than non‐acceptors who lived in larger families which could not provide support and where transport and distance were also barriers (P < 0.001). Attending regular outreach and having had first eye cataract surgery were independent predictors of acceptance in a logistic regression model.

Conclusion  The findings indicate the importance of providers building trust by organizing regular outreach in the same location. Previous eye surgery was also a strong predictor of accepting cataract surgery. To promote universal access to health care, marginalized rural communities will continue to need outreach for some time to come.
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Language: English

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1:  Department of Ophthalmology, University of Bonn, Germany 2:  Sankara Eye Care Institutions, Coimbatore, India 3:  Centre for International Eye Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK

Publication date: 2011-10-01

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