Sightsavers Sierra Leone – KAP Survey
What is the Knowledge, Attitude and Practice Survey?
For more effective targeting and disseminating public eye health information, a Knowledge, Attitude and Practice (KAP) survey was conducted in 2014. The study interviewed 1,099 individuals, 55% of whom were female, in a household survey across northern, eastern, western and southern Sierra Leone. Qualitative interviews were also conducted with a further 42 participants with disability who were identified during the household survey. A validation workshop was held involving key stakeholders to discuss and validate the findings.
What were the key benefits of the KAP survey?
The KAP enabled us to better understand existing audience levels of awareness and improved understanding of eye health needs and services. New learning as a result of this study has been extremely useful to this area of project activities. The results also provided important information and learning for designing and targeting Information Education and Communication (IEC) materials, and were received with very keen interest from senior staff at the Ministry of Health & Sanitation and Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s’ Affairs at the validation workshop indicating the relevance of this sort of evidence in addressing target population needs.
What were some key findings?
Among the key findings from the survey were the following:
· that only half of the population have had some form of information about eye health services, the practice of seeking routine eye care services is low as only 20% of the population seek routine eye examination.
· Reasons for not seeking services included: no felt need (84.5%); distance to facility (38.5%); and lack of money (5%) (KAP2014). So it was recommended that demand creation can be improved through health talks, posters and jingles which are among the key channels of communications for eye care services in Sierra Leone.
· The KAP study identified some additional strategies and methods for dissemination of IEC materials, such as translating into other languages than English or Krio as Mende and Temne ethnic groups represent 2/3 of active population. Mass media (newspapers, television, and radio) and posters/billboards channels have been found to be insufficient to reach the entire population due to:
o low levels of literacy (i.e. 36% of women and 52% of men have low literacy levels);
o 56% of women and 43% of men do not have weekly access to newspapers, television, or a radio,
o materials need to be more clearly adapted for people with disabilities (PWDs) (with visual, hearing or mobility impairment).
· What also emerged was the importance of word-of-mouth to disseminate information particularly in rural areas and for PWDs. Working with religious leaders is a way to reach PWDs, as PWDs report limited participation in social/community gatherings, however they do attend prayers at the mosque or church.
· Use of mobile phones is another key means to ensure project messages reach relevant target groups as 78% of households in the survey possessed a mobile phone and 67% respondents had their own mobile phone.
What step changes are taking place as a result?
The project staff are working with the Health Education team at the Ministry of Health to design and disseminate more targeted IEC material on disability and eye health as a result of the study. The IEC development workshop was organised in March 2016, this brought various stakeholders together (MoHS; National Eye Health Programme staff; Ministry of Social Welfare and; BPO/DPOs, etc.). The materials developed are being pre-tested for finalization.
To ensure that the whole population is aware and catered for during our awareness raising programmes, inclusive IEC materials have been developed with the involvement and participation of PWDs. Innovative materials to be developed include posters and brochures in accessible format (braille) for persons with visual impairments. This new approach will provide adequate information and create demand for eye care services especially for the vulnerable population.
Brima Victor Kamara
Sightsavers Sierra Leone