Awareness and attitudes toward corneal donation among applicants and staff of a driver, vehicle and licensing authority (DVLA) in Ghana
Corneal transplantations are surgeries performed for irreparable corneal diseases and damage. However, there is a gap between the number of potential recipients and the number of donor corneas available. The main aim of the study was to determine the awareness and attitudes toward corneal donation among applicants and staff of DVLA, Kumasi-Ghana.
A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted. One hundred participants were selected using convenient sampling method. A structured questionnaire was used to elicit responses from participants concerning awareness and attitudes toward corneal transplant.
The mean ± SD age of the participants was 32.05 ± 11.48 years and age range, 18-67 years. Males were 66% whilst females constituted 34%. 32.7% of the participants were aware of corneal donation. Majority of the participants were Christians (83.1%) and Singles (63%). Television was the source of information with the highest preponderance (49.4%). 67.3% were willing to donate their corneas after death. 63.9% were willing to indicate their donor statuses on drivers’ license form which had a significant association with willingness to donate cornea after death (p < 0.05, x2 = 12.187).
There is a poor level of awareness (32.7%) of transplant and donation amongst the study population but a good level of willingness to donate organs (67%). Consent via driving license would seem to be a good potential mode of obtaining consent to supplement the harvesting of adequate tissues for transplant if adequate awareness is created.
KeywordsKnowledge Willingness Unwillingness Cornea DVLA
Driver Vehicle and Licensing Authority
Corneal transplantation involves the removal of a diseased or damage cornea and replacing it with a healthy donated cornea. However, one of the major barriers to corneal transplantation is low consent rate and unavailability of donors inducing a huge gap between the number of potential recipients and the number of donors available [1, 2].
Even though corneal transplantation is the most common type of transplant surgery worldwide, in many sub-Saharan African countries where the need is greatest, transplant services are not available .
Factors that affect unwillingness to donate include age, educational level, knowledge about donation, religious beliefs, associated health problems, objection from family members whilst factors that favor donation are the desire to help others and gender [4, 5].
There is limited literature on the knowledge and awareness level of Ghanaians about corneal transplantation. In Ghana corneal transplant is not routinely performed as there are no corneal banks available. Also, currently there is no legislature in Ghana regulating organ and tissue donation. It is unknown which type of organ donation system would work best in our environment. This makes it difficult to plan the best kind of National Cornea Donation program to adopt for a corneal transplant service.
The aim of this study was to determine awareness and attitudes towards corneal transplants among applicants and staff of DVLA and to also determine willingness to indicate their donor statuses on drivers’ license forms. This information would help in the planning and determination of the best donation systems to adopt.
The study was a descriptive cross-sectional survey of drivers’ license applicants and staff of DVLA, Kumasi, Ghana. Hundred participants with age ≥ 18 years were recruited using convenience sampling method.
Data on demographics, socioeconomic status, knowledge corneal transplants, willingness to donate corneal after death, willingness to indicate donor status on drivers were collected using a structured questionnaire. Statistical Package for Social Sciences v22.0 was used for the analysis. P-values were obtained for the significant associations (p < 0.05). Chi- Square was used to assess associations between categorical variables.
Distribution of socio-demographic characteristics (N = 100)
Gender (N = 100)
Age-Range/yrs. (N = 100)
Marital Status (N = 100)
Religion (N = 98)
Educational Level(N = 100)
No Formal Education
Residence(N = 96)
Sources of knowledge of transplant
Knowledge and awareness of corneal donation for transplantation
Out of the 100 participants, 98% responded to the awareness of corneal transplant section out of which 32.7% of the respondents were aware of it.
52.94% of the female respondents knew about corneal transplant against 21.88% of males with a statistically significant association (p = 0.002, x2 = 9.745)
Association between knowledge of Transplant and Socio-demographic characteristics
Knowledge of corneal transplant
No formal Education
Attitudes toward corneal donation
Knowledge of Corneal Donation
Knowledge of Eye Donation
Knowledge of Eye Donation (N = 32)
It is giving the whole eye to someone with diseased eye
It is giving part of the eye (cornea) to others with diseased eye
It can be done to replace either part or whole eye
Do not know
Who can donate his Eye?(N = 32)
Do not Know
Victims of which death can donate their eyes (N = 32)
Road Traffic accidents
Death through Diseases
Death natural causes
All types of Death
Do not Know
Reasons for Donating and Decision Making
Reasons for donating and Decision making
Reasons for Donating (multiple responses, N = 70)
Love for humanity
My Religious Obligation
Give others the chance for a better life
If I will take money
Decision Making (Multiple responses)
Myself (N = 97)
Family (N = 97)
Spouse (N = 96)
Children (N = 97)
Should You be paid for donating?(N = 98)
Should Your surviving family be paid?(N = 94)
Concerns and Reservations about Donation and Transplant in Ghana
Concerns and Reservations of Donation
Concerns of Donation (multiple responses)
I do not have enough information about organ donation
I do not like the thought of people taking out my body parts
I think my body would be grossly disfigured when taken out
I want all my body parts to be intact during my funeral
It is against my religious belief
It is a taboo in my culture
I am uncomfortable with this topic and don’t want to discuss it
I do not trust the Ghana Health system
I’m afraid my body parts would be used for rituals
I’m afraid my body parts may be sold for profit
I’m afraid Doctors may not do much to my life when I’m sick because they want my body parts
My family will not agree
I have no reservation
When can one donate body parts?
Do not know
Is Organ and Corneal Donation Urgent in Ghana?
Willingness to indicate donor status on drivers’ license form
Association between willingness to donate cornea and willingness to indicate donor status on drivers’ license form
Willingness to Donate
Willingness to indicate Donor Status on License Form
Awareness level of corneal transplant among the respondents in this study was low (32.7%). A similar result was found in Medina, Saudi Arabia where 35.8% of the study population were aware of corneal transplant  This contrast very much with Edwin and Raja (2000) who reported awareness regarding transplantation of eye, 88% . It is also lower than the research by Vijayhhmahantesh et al. where 95.6% out of the 1052 participants knew about corneal transplant  perhaps because corneal transplant is routinely performed in that country, people have become more aware.
Out of the respondents, 67.3% were willing to donate their corneas after death. A relatively lower rate of donation was found in a study conducted in Saudi Arabia where 21.1% were willing to donate their eyes . Willingness to donate cornea had a significant association with age range (p = 0.043, x2 = 11.486). Old and very young people are more willing to donate than the mid-aged people.
The majority of the participants wanted to donate mainly because of altruistic and religious values; 67.1% reported that they will donate because of love for humanity, 20% opined that it was their religious obligation, 51.4% reported they will donate to give others the chance for a better life.
Less than 50% which is 44.9% out of the respondents knew that a body can be donated whilst alive or dead which is lower than the 53.1% reported by Sandeep et al., (2017) .
Out of the people who knew about corneal transplant, 37.5% knew that corneal donation is done by giving part (cornea) of the eye to others with diseased part (cornea). The results indicated that even the few people who had heard about cornea transplant did not know much about the procedure itself.
31.3% reported that anyone can donate his eyes. This show the lack of accurate knowledge of the procedure. 37.5% of the respondents reported that victims of every death qualify for eye donation provided the cornea is healthy.
These low rates of accurate knowledge given about the procedure by the respondents, indicates the need for awareness creation about cornea transplant.
This study revealed that 50.5% of the respondents did not have enough information about organ donation;18.6% did not like the thought of people taking away their body parts; 19.6% believed their bodies would be grossly disfigured when their body parts are taken out; 14.4% wanted all their body parts to be intact during the funerals; 13.4% reported that it was against their religious beliefs; 11% opined it was a taboo in their culture and 11% were not comfortable discussing the topic and did not want to discuss it. Most respondents were concerned about the state of their bodies after death because of the common belief amongst Africans that one must return to the ancestral world with a complete body in order to have a peaceful rest otherwise the person’s spirit will warn and haunt the living for vengeance. A similar study conducted by Pike et al. (1993) revealed that what prevented majority of the people from donating was lack of knowledge about organ transplantation which correlates with our findings . A study in Pakistan had similar reasons where participants reported that “the body belongs to God and God gave it to man and no man can give it to another person” .
Out of the respondents, 63.9% were willing to indicate their donor status on drivers’ license form. There was a significant association between willingness to indicate donor status on drivers’ License form and willingness to donate eye (x2 = 12.187, p < 0.05).
Limitation of the study
This study was carried out at only one DVLA Centre.
This study has revealed low level of awareness of cornea transplant among participants (32.7%). More than half of the study population reported that they were willing to donate their organs and corneas (67%.). The main reason for unwillingness to donate was lack of knowledge about donation to make the decision. More than half of the participants stated that they were willing to indicate on the Drivers’ License form their donor status. There was a strong relationship between willingness to indicate donor status on Drivers’ license form and willingness to donate cornea. Consent via driving license would seem to be a good potential mode of obtaining a donor pool to supplement the harvesting of adequate tissues for transplant if adequate awareness is created.
Much appreciation goes to the Administration of DVLA, Kumasi for their assistance and for expediting the data collection process.
SL conceived the research ideas. SL, EKA-A, SA and A-KM contributed to the conception and the research design. SA, NODM and SEG participated in the writing, workflow and data collection. SL, EKA-A, SA, AKM, NODM and SEG participated in the interpretation of data and analysis while SA wrote the first draft. SL and EKA-A reviewed the first draft and offered substantial revisions which was incorporated into the subsequent and final drafts. All authors read and approved the final manuscript as submitted and take full responsibility for the manuscript.
Ethics approval and consent to participate
The study was approved by the Committee on Human Research, Publication and Ethics (CHRPE), School of Medical Sciences Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST)/ Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital. Written consents were obtained from each participant.
Consent for publication
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
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