Background: People with spinal cord injury (SCI) often have great need for healthcare services, but they report access challenges. Primary care access to people with SCI has not been explored in Botswana.
Objective: This study aimed to identify barriers and facilitators that users with spinal cord injuries experience in accessing primary care services in the greater Gaborone area, Botswana.
Methods: A quantitative, cross-sectional, observational study was conducted. Data were collected with a structured questionnaire from 57 participants with traumatic and non-traumatic SCI. Descriptive and inferential analysis was performed.
Results: The male to female ratio was 2.8:1. The mean age of participants was 40 years (standard deviation 9.59). Road traffic crashes caused 85% of the injuries. Most participants visited primary care facilities between 2 and 10 times in the 6 months before the study. Participants were satisfied with the services (63%) and felt that facilities were clean (95%) and well maintained (73.5%). Preferential treatment, respect, short waiting times and convenient hours facilitated satisfaction with services. Availability was hampered by insufficient provider knowledge on SCI as indicated by 71.9% of participants, and shortage of consumables (80.7%). Structural challenges (42.1% could not enter the facility by themselves and 56.5% could not use the bathroom) and lack of height-adjustable examining couches (66.7%) impeded accessibility. Cost was incurred when participants (64.9%) utilised private health services where public services failed to address their needs.
Conclusion: Primary care services were mostly affordable and adequate. Availability, acceptability and accessibility aspects created barriers.
African Journal of Disability, Vol 8, 2019