Knowledge and practice of standard precautions by health‑care workers in a tertiary health institution in Enugu, Nigeria
Background: Standard precautions (SPs) are crucial in protecting both health‑care workers (HCWs) and patients from nosocomial infections. This study assessed the knowledge and practices of SP among HCWs in tertiary health‑care facilities.
Methods: This descriptive study was done in October 2014 among 629 HCWs at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Ituku‑Ozalla, Enugu State. A pretested questionnaire was used and analysis done using SPSS version 13.
Results: The HCWs studied were 629, mostly females (64.4%), married (62.3%), Christians (94%), and within 20–59 years. Majority were nurses (46.1%) working in the wards. Over 90% of respondents had heard of SP, mainly from formal training (62%). Over 70% could define SP, 74.6% had knowledge of when SP is needed and >70% identified most components of SP. Over 90% agreed that SPs are useful and that employers should provide SP training. Most respondents washed hands after removal of gloves (73.6%) and before leaving patient’s care area (33.1%). More than 70% had been exposed to patient’s body fluids and washed the exposed part with water, soap, and disinfectant (52.1%). Gloves were the most commonly used personal protective equipment (PPE) (53.4%) and the major reason for inconsistent use was irregular access (57.7%). Over 50% recap needles before discarding. Exposure to patients’ serum was significantly higher among doctors and nurses P < 0.05, while the use of PPEs was highest among the laboratory scientists (82.4%). Those who were trained on SP (70.8%) and PPE (69.7) were significantly more likely to use PPEs, P < 0.05.
Conclusions: SP training and regular provision of PPEs are vital in compliance to SP.
Keywords: Enugu, health‑care workers, nosocomial infections, standard precautions