Healthcare workers (HCWs) are at a high risk of needle stick injuries and blood borne pathogens, such as HIV, and Hepatitis B and C viruses, as they perform their clinical activities in the hospital3. Standard precautions are a set of guidelines that aim to protect HCWs from infections from blood, body fluids, secretions, excretions except sweat, non-intact skin, and mucous membranes while providing care to patients.54 Compliance with universal precautions has been shown to reduce the risk of exposure to blood and body fluids.
Aims and objectives
This study was aimed at assessing the level of knowledge, attitude and practice of standard precautions among HCWs in Central Hospital, Warri, Delta State, Nigeria.
The study was carried out between June and December, 2011 at Central Hospital, Warri, Delta State, Nigeria. The respondents were doctors, trained nurses, laboratory scientists, laboratory technicians, health assistants and waste handlers. They were selected through a stratified sampling technique. The instrument was an interviewer administered 98-item semi-structured questionnaire that assessed the knowledge, attitude and practice of standard precautions.
A total of 200 respondents were studied. The age of the respondents (in years) ranged from 22 – 60, with a mean age of 38.3 + 9.1. The modal age was 30. There were more females 144 (72.0%) than males 56 (28.0%). The respondents with tertiary level 160 (80.0%) of education were more represented. Some 124 (62.0%) of all respondents had good knowledge of standard precautions, 140 (70.0%) had good attitude of standard precautions, and 138 (69.0%) had good practice of standard precautions.
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The higher the educational level, the higher the level of knowledge, attitude and practice of standard precautions. Some 87 (43.5%) reported always recapping needles after use, 52 (26.0%) always detach needles from syringes, 74 (37.0%) had needle stick injuries in the last one year. Compliance with non-recapping of needles by the HCWs was however good 113 (56.5%). A high percentage usually washed their hands after handling patients. A large proportion of respondents (80.0%) were not immunized, only (40.0%) had hepatitis B virus vaccine.
The level of knowledge attitude and practice of standard precautions was influenced by certain variables such as age, sex, occupation, level of education. In this study, there is need to increase awareness and further improve on compliance with standard precautions in this present day scourge of HIV pandemic .It is recommended that staffs should be trained regularly on standard precautions, hepatitis B virus immunization should be made compulsory, though free, needle recapping should be prohibited, unsafe and unwarranted use of injections should be minimized and a PEP protocol should be in place with a well-known designated PEP focal person.
KEYWORDS: Standard precautions, knowledge, attitude, practice, blood-borne infection, needle stick injury, healthcare workers, compliance.
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