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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 19-23

Finding children with blindness and visual impairment in five local government areas of Sokoto state using the key informant method

1 Department of Surgery, Ophthalmology Unit, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, Nigeria
2 Department of Ophthalmology, Specialist Hospital, Sokoto, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Nasiru Muhammad
Ophthalmology unit, Surgery department, College of Health Sciences, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto
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Source of Support: State Universal basic education board (SUBEB), Sokoto Nigeria., Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1858-540X.138846

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Background: Pilot inclusive education program that provide education to blind children in routine schools have been implemented in 1 local government area (LGA) of Sokoto state in 2009. Encouraged by the success recorded in the initiative, the Sokoto state Ministry of Education through the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) decided to expand the programme to other LGAs across the three senatorial districts. This study was conducted to trace blind/visually-impaired children in 5 LGAs of the state in order to link them with clinical, educational or rehabilitative services. Materials and Methods: Primary health care workers (PHCWs) and volunteers were used as key informants over a 10-day period to trace visually impaired/blind and bring them to an examination venue. This followed mobilization and sensitization of the community leaders. A team of an ophthalmologist, optometrist and ophthalmic nurse conducted the eye examination in each LGA on a fixed date including refraction. Results: A total of 107 children were reviewed as children having eye problems. Girls constituted 45% of the children. Twenty-seven children (25%) were found blind using a VA of <3/60 or failure to fixate a penlight in the better eye; and 19 (18%) were visually impaired. Eleven children needed glasses while 18 others were referred for refraction at base hospital. Eighteen children needed cataract surgery. Twenty-five percent of the children were not enrolled in any school, only one child was enrolled in School for the multiple handicapped and 31% need to be enrolled in formal school. Sixteen children need enrolment into an inclusive education school, as they were irreversible blind. Conclusion: The major causes of childhood blindness in Sokoto state are either preventable or curable.

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