Hand hygiene practices among community Health Officers in Rivers State, Nigeria
Background: Health care associated infections are most commonly transmitted by the hands of Health care workers and other hospital personnel.
Objective: To investigate compliance with hand hygiene guidelines and methods of hand hygiene practice among community health officers in Rivers State Nigeria.
Methods: Self administered questionnaires were distributed to 68 community health officers. The questionnaires consisted of 19 items which contained information on bio-demographic characteristics and hand hygiene practices. Data were analysed using SPSS-16 statistical software. Proportions were compared using Chi- square test and ‘p’ value less than 0.05 was considered statistically significant.
Results: The response rate was 97.1%. There were 11 (16.7%) males and 55 (83.3%) females with a male to female ratio of 1: 5. The age of the participants ranged from 28-56 years with a mean age of 39.7±6.7. Washing of hands before and after contact with patient was 60.1% and 97% respectively. The difference was significant (p<0.01). Allergy to gloves was 15.2%. About three-quarter (77.3%) of the workers used soap and water to wash the hands when soiled or visibly contaminated. None of the workers used alcohol hand rub.
Conclusion: Though there was improved compliance to hand hygiene guidelines, this still fall short of acceptable standards. The provision and promotion of the proper use of alcohol-based hand rub may further improve compliance with hand hygiene by reducing the time required to perform it and the convenience of the method.
Keywords: Alcohol, Hand hygiene, Community health officers