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Availability, Accessibility and Proper Use of Personal Protective Equipment in Wards at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) Blantyre, Malawi: An Observational Study

Davie Madziatera


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the availability, accessibility and proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the wards at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH).
Methods: We conducted an observational study with a cross-section design. Convenience sampling method was used for selection of healthcare workers (HCWs) in wards. HCWs filled a checklist on accessibility of PPEs and they were observed on proper use of PPE while conducting clinical procedures. Nurse ward in-charge was asked to fill out a checklist on availability of PPE in their ward.
PPE was available in 75.8% of wards, not available in 12.5%. Goggles were absent in 70.8% of wards. PPEs were 71.4% accessible and 28.6% inaccessible to healthcare workers in the wards. The most inaccessible PPEs were goggles (83.2%) and footwear (73.7%) while facemasks, sterile and non-sterile gloves and aprons were readily accessible. Non sterile gloves were 100% available and accessible. Only 13.5% of the HCWs had good compliance with PPE standard procedures. The average PPE compliance score of those who had been trained was 6 % greater than those who were not trained.
This study identified areas of improvement in healthcare system delivery regarding standard precautions with emphasis on PPE. Improvements in training during professional college education and in-service refresher training could improve compliance with appropriate use of PPE for relatively low cost. Management support could improve availability and accessibility of PPE in the wards at QECH, with active supervision to improve adherence levels to personal protective equipment usage. The study can also help in the development of policies and guidelines regarding PPE usage by showing that most HCWs need to be trained in proper PPE usage.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1995-7262
print ISSN: 1995-7270