A study of patients attending for eye surgery at a rural hospital in the Republic of Benin
Over a 14-week period from 27 June-4 October 2000 all patients discharged from our eye unit after surgery were asked to complete a verbally administered questionnaire.
The St Jean de Dieu Hospital is situated 15 km north of Parakou, the major town in northern Benin (pop. 100,000+). The eye unit is staffed by one expatriate surgeon, three national nurses and one clerk.
One hundred and fifty-six questionnaires were completed. The age range of patients was from 2-90 years. Ninety-nine (63.5%) were over 65 years. Ninety-two were male, 64 were female (male:female 1.4:1)
Distance travelled and means of transport
- 14% travelled less than 20 km
- 20% travelled 20-100 km
- 66% travelled over 100 km.
The means of transport used were:
- Car taxi (communal) 72%
- Motorbike taxi 10%
- Train 6.7%
- Personal/family car 5%
- Family motorbike 4.5%
- Other car 1.9%.
Of the 156 patients, 66% were operated for cataract and 16% for glaucoma. Other pathology included pterygium (4) and entropion (3). When asked how many understood their pathology, 60% said they did not.
The patients occupations were: 37% housewives (who usually work just as hard in the fields, as do their husbands); 29% subsistence farmers and 10% cattle herders. Six were children under 15 years (only one of whom attended school) and five patients were officially retired and in receipt of a pension.
Cost of surgery
We asked each patient who had paid the cost of their operation: 42% were self-financed; 38.5%were paid by patients children; 9% were paid by a parent and a further 9% by the patients wider family. The vast majority (98.7%) did not consider the consultation cost (US$2) too expensive. The price of surgery was acceptable to 95.5% (US$28 for cataract surgery with either an implant or aphakic spectacles).
On discharge from the hospital, usually 7 days after their operation, 135 (86.5%) said that their vision had improved, 17 (11%) said it was worse. Each patient was asked if they experienced too much pain either during or after the operation. Whilst 131 (84%) did not experience too much pain, 23 (15%) did. Two patients made no comment.
Finally, patients were asked for any additional comments. Sixty-seven patients volunteered 80 comments
- Satisfaction (18)
- Wished for a better result (16)
- Thankful to staff (7)
- Need for hospital to be cleaner (4)
- Experienced too much pain (3)
- Will pray for the staff (3)
- Will tell others to come (3)
- Other comments (26).
Note: The eye service at St Jean de Dieu Hospital is supported by Christian Blind Mission International.
Table 1. How patients knew about the eye clinic
|How informed?||No. (%)|
|Another patient||54 (34.5)|
|Outreach clinic||46 (29.5)|
Table 2. Emotions experienced by hospital patients
|Confidence in the doctor||27 (17.3)|
|Confidence in God||2|
Table 3. Evaluation by patients of their stay in hospital
Published courtesy of: Tropical Doctor 2002; 32: 17-19