Eye care in Timor-Leste: a population-based study of utilization and barriers

Type Journal Article - Clinical & experimental ophthalmology
Title Eye care in Timor-Leste: a population-based study of utilization and barriers
Volume 36
Issue 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2008
Page numbers 47-53
URL http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/18190597
Background: To determine utilization ofWestern-style conventional
health services for eye problems in Timor-Leste,
and barriers to seeking that care.
Methods: An interview-based questionnaire was administered
as par t of a population-based cross-sectional survey of
50 clusters (urban and rural) of 30 people aged 40 years.
Results: Of 1470 people enumerated, 1414 were examined
(96.2%). A total of 1293 (91.4%) repor ted at least one
previous or present eye problem, mostly (88.6%) blurred/
poor vision, for near and/or distance. Men (OR 1.6, 95% CI
1.1–2.3), literates (OR 2.1, 95% CI 1.4–3.5), urban dwellers
(OR 4.1, 95% CI 2.6–6.4) and those in paid employment
compared with being a farmer (OR 3.0,95% CI 1.5–5.9) were
more likely to have repor ted a problem. A total of 858
(66.4%) sought Western-style care for its remedy. Nonutilization
was associated with being illiterate (OR 3.7, 95% CI
2.9–4.8), a rural dweller (OR 3.8, 95% CI 3.0–4.9), unemployed
(OR 1.6, 95% CI 1.1–2.2) or a farmer (OR 5.2, 95% CI
3.5–7.6) compared with being in paid employment, having
moderately impaired compared with non-impaired near
vision (OR 1.4, 95% CI 1.1–1.8), and red/itchy/painful eyes
compared with blurred vision (OR 2.3, 95% CI 1.6–3.2), but
not age, gender or poor distance vision. Lack of awareness of
service availability was the most frequent reason for not
seeking treatment (32.9%), especially for rural respondents.
Attitudinal reasons were also prevalent (32.5%), with social
(11.8%), economic (11.5%) and service-related (9.0%) issues
less so.
Conclusions: If eye health is to improve in Timor-Leste,
there must be better appreciation of it, and increased availability,
accessibilty and awareness of services.

Related studies