Author(s): Rani PK, Raman R, Subramani S, Perumal G, Kumaramanickavel G,
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Abstract INTRODUCTION: Diabetes mellitus, particularly type II, is a major public health concern worldwide. While the occurrence of diabetic retinopathy cannot be prevented, with the provision of knowledge to sufferers, sight-threatening complications can be minimized. PURPOSE: To report the results of a KAP (Knowledge, Attitude and Practice) study among a rural population in two areas: diabetes mellitus (DM) and diabetic retinopathy (DR). The level of knowledge was evaluated for both DM and DR; however, the influence of knowledge on practices and attitude was evaluated in only the DR group. METHODS: In rural areas, 145 awareness meetings on DM and DR were conducted attended 28 347 individuals. Using systematic random sampling, the data were collected from every 14th individual. In total, 1938 individuals from a rural population were numbered for gaining their responses to the KAP questionnaire. Univariate and multiple regression analyses were performed to identify independent risk factors related to the knowledge of the disease and influence of this knowledge on attitude and practice. RESULTS: Of 1938 individuals, 966 (49.9\%) had knowledge of DM and 718 (37.1\%) had knowledge of DR. Knowledge about DM was more in women (OR=1.93; 95\% CI: 1.55-2.39), in subjects who followed the Christian faith (OR=1.48; 95\% CI: 1.07-2.04) and in those who belonged to the upper socioeconomic strata (OR=2.60; 95\% CI: 1.84-3.67). The knowledge of DR was significantly higher among subjects who spoke the Malayalam language (OR=3.80; 95\% CI: 2.03-7.13), who followed the Christian faith (OR=1.73; 95\% CI: 1.27-2.35), and in those who belonged to the upper socioeconomic strata (OR=1.85; 95\% CI: 1.32-2.58). Compared with those who had no knowledge of DR (n = 1220), significant percentages of individuals with knowledge (n = 718) had the right attitude - to go for regular eye examinations - (65.9\% vs 93.3\%) (p<0.0001) ). Regarding practice patterns, only 36.5\% of individuals with knowledge about DR believed that if they controlled their blood sugar, they could avoid a visit to an ophthalmologist, compared with 55.5\% with no knowledge (p<0.0001). CONCLUSION: The results suggest that we need to propagate aggressive and comprehensive awareness models to educate rural populations on DM and DR.
This article was published in Rural Remote Health
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology