Levels and Trends of Occupational Hazards among Surgical Residents at Tikur Anbessa Hospital, Addis Ababa Ethiopia

  • A Bekele
  • S Shiferaw
  • D Gulilat


Background: A previous study conducted four years ago among surgeons-in-training at the Addis Ababa University revealed that work-related  accidents among surgical trainees were enormous, and there was huge under reporting to the occupational health unit (OHU) of the hospital. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of the strengthened OHU of the hospital and what the current status of work-related accidents is like at the same hospital three years later.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted to investigate the  prevalence and context of all work-related accidents that resulted in contamination with blood and blood products inside the operating theatre, among surgical residents at the Tikur Anbessa teaching specialized referral
hospital, in Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. Data was collected from all 76 surgical residents who were at different stages of their specialty training in 2011.
Results: Seventy- two (94.7%) of the residents were males and 26  (34.2%) were in their 3rd and 4th year of training. Of the 76 respondents, 53 (69.8%) had sustained a needle-stick injury inside the operating theatre at least once during their residency (Range=1-15 times). For 20 (26.3%), the accidents involved a high risk patient at least once. Cut with a sharp object, contact of blood to an unprotected skin and splash of blood to the eyes and face were reported by 9 (11.7%), 39(51.3%) and 28(36.9%) of the respondents respectively. Information concerning the most recent injuries inside the operating theatre revealed that 46(69.7%) of the residents sustained accidents in the 6 months preceding the survey, 7(9.2%) of which involved a high risk patient. All of the 7 (100%) of the recent high risk injuries and 10(27.7%) of the low-risk injuries were  reported to the OHU and all the high risk injury victims were commenced on HIV prophylaxis.
Conclusions and Recommendations: Overall, the study revealed that work-related accidents among surgical trainees are still unacceptably high, even though there is a decline in the number of sharp object cut, and blood splash accidents. However, there is a positive trend towards reporting of injuries, particularly those which are high risk. More is expected from the hospital to create a safe working environment and to encourage reporting of all form of injuries.

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eISSN: 2073-9990