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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 31  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 280-284

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on eye care services and training in Nigeria

1 Department of Ophthalmology, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria
2 Department of Ophthalmology, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria
3 Department of Ophthalmology, Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital, Ile-Ife, Nigeria
4 Department of Ophthalmology, Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja, Nigeria
5 Department of Ophthalmology, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Calabar, Nigeria
6 Department of Ophthalmology, National Hospital, Abuja, Nigeria
7 Department of Ophthalmology, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, Nigeria
8 Department of Ophthalmology, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano, Nigeria
9 Department of Ophthalmology, University of Port-Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Port-Harcourt, Nigeria
10 Department of Ophthalmology, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Lagos, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Henrietta Ifechukwude Monye
Department of Ophthalmology, University College Hospital, Ibadan
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/NJM.NJM_22_22

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Background: The COVID-19 pandemic greatly affected eye care globally in terms of service provision and training. It is important to recognize the challenges faced and the adaptations instituted to overcome them. Aim: The aim of this study was to determine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on eye care services and training in eye institutions in Nigeria. Materials and Methods: This was a cross-sectional survey involving ophthalmologists and senior ophthalmology trainees selected purposively to ensure a varied representation in terms of location and type of practice. Data collection was done through a web-based questionnaire (Google Forms). The main outcome of interest was the impact of the pandemic on four major aspects of practice: outpatient care, surgical care, inpatient care, and residency training. Data on respondents' sociodemographic features and practice details were descriptively summarized with means and standard deviations (SDs) for the continuous variables and proportions for the categorical variables. Practice patterns before and at the height of the pandemic were compared for the four aspects of practice, and P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Results: A total of 59 responses were received from eye institutions in 28 states in Nigeria. The mean age of respondents was 38.1 years (SD 6) and 36 (61%) were female. Forty-seven (81.4%) responses were from participants working in public institutions and 40 (67.8%) responses were from respondents whose institutions run ophthalmology residency training programs. Glaucoma was the most affected subspecialty during the pandemic (24, 40.7%). Respondents reported complete closures of clinics (21, 35.6%), theaters (40, 67.8%), and wards (18, 30.5%) at the height of the pandemic. Training activities requiring physical contact were negatively affected, while reports on the use of virtual seminars increased to 75% (n = 30) at the peak of the pandemic from 5% (n = 2) before the pandemic. Overall, all respondents affirmed that the pandemic negatively affected their practice, and 51 (86%) reported an extent of more than 25%. Conclusion: The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted most aspects of ophthalmology practice. Adaptations are required to ensure the optimization of patient care and training experiences in the post-COVID era.

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