Knowledge of health workers on cholera management in Oyo State: Results of a training intervention
Introduction: Primary Health Care (PHC) workers are usually the frontline health workers involved in disseminating health education to the community and implementing cholera prevention and management guidelines. Given that inadequate health worker perforance has been a problem in resource-limited settings such as Nigeria and poor health worker knowledge has been implicated in poor health status in developing nations, continuous training of health workers to improve their knowledge has been recommended to improve health outcomes.
Objectives: This study seeks to ascertain the level of improvement in the knowledge of health workers on cholera, if any, after one of such interventions was carried out in Oyo State. Similarly, the study seeks to discern the specific domains of knowledge on cholera, if any, which were significantly affected by the intervention.
Methods: The research was conducted utilizing a pre-post study design to recruit PHC health workers from four local government areas of Oyo State between October and November 2016. Baseline and endline data were collected at both intervention and control sites using a self-administered questionnaire with sections eliciting responses to questions on general knowledge of symptoms of cholera, prevention methods, knowledge and practice of safety procedures health workers. Descriptive statistics and chi-square tests were used to present the data and test for statistical associations between categorical variables at 5% respectively.
Results: A total of 542 health workers divided into 2 groups (intervention and control), were interviewed at baseline and at endline. At baseline, the 40-49 years age group was the most represented in the intervention arm (40.0%), the 30-39 years age group was the most representedin the control arm (34.2%). At baseline, only 35.2% of health workers in the intervention sites had good knowledge on cholera. This figure was increased to 52.7% after the intervention. This difference in proportions was also statistically significant (p=0.004). In the control sites, the opposite was observed as the proportion of health workers with good knowledge on cholera slightly reduced from 47.2% to 43.6%. This difference was however not statistically significant (p=0.563).
Conclusion: The results from the evaluation of the intervention show that the training significantly improved the overall knowledge of health workers. However, future training interventions can be aimed at improving knowledge of health workers on alert threshold of cholera. In addition, continuous education programs on disease and surveillance and notification should be planned for PHC workers to improve their knowledge.
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