Knowledge, attitude and practices of traditional healers with regards to primary eye care (PEC) in KwaZulu Natal.
Madlala, Tate Clifford.
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The title of the study: Knowledge, Attitude And Practices Of Traditional Healers With Regards To Primary Eye Care (PEC) In Kwazulu-Natal. Background: It is estimated that 80% of global blindness is avoidable (i.e. either preventable or treatable) yet the number of people living with vision impairment and blindness continues to rise. Epidemiological data indicate that approximately 2.2 billion people in the world are visually impaired or blind. Furthermore, 90% of those live in developing countries and are mostly in rural areas. A significant number of Black South Africans consult traditional healers for general and eye heath as well as for other reasons. Objectives: To assess the Knowledge, Attitude and Practices (KAP) of traditional healers with regards to primary eyecare in and around Durban City. Methodology: A quantitative cross-sectional study design, using convenience sampling was employed. A validated semi-structured interview questionnaire was administered to participating traditional healers. The questionnaire contained questions on the knowledge, attitude and practices of traditional healers with regards to PEC. The data collected was analysed with the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SSPS). Results: Of the 162 traditional healers interviewed, 34% were below 40 years and 62% were older than 40 years. There were more (55%) male traditional healers than females (45%). The majority (77.8%) reported being able to read and write. Of the total respondents, 43.2% were herbalists, 25.2% divine healers and 13.6% faith healers. Most (77.8%) had more than 5 years of experience as a traditional healer. The mean score for knowledge about the causes of eye illnesses or injuries was 8.3±2.25 and knowledge about conditions that may result in eye illnesses or injuries was 8.45±1.9. The mean score for attitude towards relationship with doctors and referral of patients to medical doctors was 5.85±1.32. The mean score for practice regarding mode and approach to treatment of eye illnesses was 9.49±4.06; and attitude towards referral of patients by medical doctors to tradtional healers was 3.12±0.40.