Raising public awareness of glaucoma in Ethiopia

نویسنده

  • Abeba T Giorgis
چکیده

In Ethiopia, glaucoma is the fifth most common cause of blindness and the disease caused irreversible blindness in an estimated 62,000 people in 2006.1 Due to the nature of the disease, an inadequate and inaccessible eye care service, and a very poor level of public awareness, glaucoma patients tend to come for help after they have become either unilaterally or bilaterally blind. Even among some health professionals in Ethiopia, awareness and understanding of glaucoma is low. There are many instances of parents being told that their child does not have an eye problem when in fact they are suffering from congenital glaucoma, and I have seen many people with acute angleclosure glaucoma who have been treated for conjunctivitis! In 2007, a group of volunteers made up of physicians and glaucoma patients set up the Glaucoma Group, with the aim of increasing public awareness of glaucoma. The group is supported by the Ophthalmological Society of Ethiopia (OSE) in collaboration with the Department of Ophthalmology, Addis Ababa University, and the Ministry of Health. The mass media has been the key to the success of the group’s activities as it is a means of reaching millions of people. The Glaucoma Group has worked with the media on documentaries, discussion programmes, and short ‘advertising’ type messages on both television and radio. The fi rst glaucoma message was broadcast on television in 2008 and was paid for by Light for the World. There were also programmes and educational messages on national and regional radio stations. We approached the media through the OSE and through Menelik Hospital, where the Department of Ophthalmology is based. The people working in the media were interested in broadcasting healthrelated programmes and were very helpful. The Glaucoma Group produced posters, banners, brochures, leafl ets, a book about glaucoma translated into Amharic, caps, and T-shirts, which were given to glaucoma patients and their families. Here are a few examples of the key messages the group communicated through the media at different times.

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عنوان ژورنال:

دوره 25  شماره 

صفحات  -

تاریخ انتشار 2012