Nigerian neonatologists perception and experience with retinopathy of prematurity

Submitted: 25 October 2019
Accepted: 19 April 2021
Published: 23 June 2021
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Background: Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) is an avoidable condition that affects premature infants exposed to oxygen stresses at or soon after birth. In low- and middle-income countries, like Nigeria, neonatal mortality rates are high and very few infants live to develop ROP. With recent better care, ROP is now being diagnosed.
Objective: This study aimed to characterize what Nigerian neonatologists understand about ROP. Methods: At a joint meeting of Nigerian pediatric ophthalmologists and neonatologists in Kebbi State held 26-29 July 2018, questionnaires collected attendees’ perspective and experience with ROP including causes, risk factors and experiences.
Results: Fifty-one neonatologists out of 71 returned a completed questionnaire (response rate: 71.8%). The male:female ratio was 1:1.8, and approximately 40% were aged 41-50 years (n=20, 39.22%). Only 3 (6.39%) had experience managing infants below 500g that survived. A majority managed babies with a mean weight of 913g ± 300.37 and age of 27.87 weeks ±2.37. Most had no access to oxygen monitors (n=39,78%). Most had 10 babies to one monitor and used average settings of 90- 95%. One third had seen a case of ROP (n=15,29.41%). Only 5.88% (n=3) were unaware of uncontrolled oxygen use as a risk factor. Only 4 (8.89%) had a functional screening team. None were aware of local screening guidelines.
Conclusions: Regular educational programs, collaborative clinical presentations and webinars about ROP targeted at the neonatologists and parents, including establishment of screening programs across country will likely help reduce the burden of ROP blindness in Nigeria.

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