Strengthening retinopathy of prematurity screening and treatment services in Nigeria: a case study of activities, challenges and outcomes 2017-2020

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Ademola-Popoola, D.S
Fajolu, I.B
Gilbert, C
Olusanya, B.A
Onakpoya, O.H
Ezisi, C.N
Musa, K.O
Chan, R.V.P
Okeigbemen, V.W
Muhammad, R.C
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Objectives: Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) will become a major cause of blindness in Nigerian children unless screening and treatment services expand. This article aims to describe the collaborative activities undertaken to improve services for ROP between 2017 and 2020 as well as the outcome of these activities in Nigeria. Design: Descriptive case study. Setting: Neonatal intensive care units in Nigeria. Participants: Staff providing services for ROP, and 723 preterm infants screened for ROP who fulfilled screening criteria (gestational age <34 weeks or birth weight ≤2000 g, or sickness criteria). Methods and analysis: A WhatsApp group was initiated for Nigerian ophthalmologists and neonatologists in 2018. Members participated in a range of capacity-building, national and international collaborative activities between 2017 and 2018. A national protocol for ROP was developed for Nigeria and adopted in 2018; 1 year screening outcome data were collected and analysed. In 2019, an esurvey was used to collect service data from WhatsApp group members for 2017-2018 and to assess challenges in service provision. Results: In 2017 only six of the 84 public neonatal units in Nigeria provided ROP services; this number had increased to 20 by 2018. Of the 723 babies screened in 10 units over a year, 127 (17.6%) developed any ROP; and 29 (22.8%) developed type 1 ROP. Only 13 (44.8%) babies were treated, most by intravitreal bevacizumab. The screening criteria were revised in 2020. Challenges included lack of equipment to regulate oxygen and to document and treat ROP, and lack of data systems. Conclusion: ROP screening coverage and quality improved after national and international collaborative efforts. To scale up and improve services, equipment for neonatal care and ROP treatment is urgently needed, as well as systems to monitor data. Ongoing advocacy is also essential.
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Angiogenesis , Epidemiology , Retina , Treatment lasers , Treatment medical. , Research Subject Categories::MEDICINE
Ademola-Popoola DS, Fajolu IB, Gilbert C, Olusanya BA, Onakpoya OH, Ezisi CN, Musa KO, Chan RVP, Okeigbemen VW, Muhammad RC, Malik ANJ, Adio AO, Bodunde OT, Rafindadi AL, Oluleye TS, Tongo OO, Badmus SA, Adebara OV, Padhi TR, Ezenwa BN, Obajolowo TS, Olokoba LB, Olatunji VA, Babalola YO, Ugalahi MO, Adenekan A, Adesiyun OO, Sahoo J, Miller MT, Uhumwangho OM, Olagbenro AS, Adejuyigbe EA, Ezeaka CVC, Mokuolu O, Ogunlesi TA, Ogunfowora OB, Abdulkadir I, Abdullahi FL, Fabiyi AT, Hassan LHL, Baiyeroju AM, Opara PI, Oladigbolu K, Eneh AU, Fiebai BE, Mahmud-Ajeigbe FA, Peter EN, Abdullahi HS. Strengthening retinopathy of prematurity screening and treatment services in Nigeria: a case study of activities, challenges and outcomes 2017-2020. BMJ Open Ophthalmol. 2021 Aug 23;6(1):e000645. doi: 10.1136/bmjophth-2020-000645