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Knowledge, attitude and practice towards strabismus in Cheha District, Central Ethiopia

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Background: Strabismus is the commonest cause of amblyopia that can be prevented or treated if detected early. Strabismus also causes psychosocial problems in both children and adults. It is clear that community’s knowledge, attitude and practice dealing with strabismus affect the prevention of strabismic ambylopia and management of strabismus. Knowledge, attitude and practice dealing with strabismus have not been studied previously in Ethiopia. Objectives: To assess knowledge, attitude and practice involving strabismus in Cheha District, Central Ethiopia. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted from November 1 to November 28, 2007 in Cheha District in 10 randomly selected kebeles of the district. People aged 18 years and above from randomly selected households were interviewed about their knowledge, attitude and practice in dealing with strabismus. Results: A total of 420 people were interviewed, of whom 198 (47.1%) were males and 222 (52.9%) were females. All participants reported to have seen a case of strabismus or heard about it, the source of information being family members or neighbors. In assessing their knowledge, 62.8% did not know the causes of strabismus and mentioned only misconceived causes like exposure to bright light. Of the total study population, 225 (53.6%) believed that there is no treatment for strabismus and 51.4% did not want to marry or allow marriage of relatives to a person with strabismus. When they were asked about what actions they would take if there was a case of strabismus in the family, 173 (41.2%) reported that they would not take any action since it cannot be treated, 134 (31.9%) said they would take to the hospital and 113 (29.9%) reported they would try modern medicine even though it cannot be treated. Conclusion: A large proportion of adult population of Cheha District was found to have poor knowledge, attitude and practice regarding the causes and management of strabismus. Health education by health professionals and mass media is thus recommended. [Ethiop. J. Health Dev. 2011;25(3):212-215]

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