Autopsy‑related work experience: an important factor affecting knowledge and attitudes of health personnel toward autopsy
Background: Despite benefits, autopsy rates continue to fall globally. The effects of education, religion, and culture on autopsy rates are well documented. Aim: This study examines the knowledge and attitudes of health personnel, aiming to identify other factors affecting autopsy rates in our environment. Subjects and Methods: This is a cross‑sectional non‑intervention study using semi‑structured questionnaires and Statistical Package for Social Sciences Version 21, for data collection and analysis. Results: Seventeen percent, 50%, and 33% of participants had good, fair, and poor knowledge about autopsies, respectively. Poor understanding of the legal framework governing autopsies accounted for significant gaps in knowledge. Knowledge grade differed significantly amongst the different professional groups (χ2 = 33.14; P value = 0.016). Eighty‑two percent had good attitudes toward autopsy, though only 63% indicated approval. About 74% percent indicated willingness to consent to autopsies on relations, while 45.3% indicated willingness to consent to autopsy on self‑remains. Autopsy‑related work experience correlated strongly with both knowledge (χ2 = 22.34; P value = 0.004) and attitude (χ2 = 24.28; P value = 0.004) grades. Multinominal regression analysis showed autopsy‑related work experience to be an independent determinant of willingness to consent to autopsy on self (P value = 0.023). Conclusion: Autopsy rates in Benin city and environs may reflect lack of knowledge or a misunderstanding of the laws guiding autopsy. Autopsy‑related work experience is an important factor influencing knowledge and attitude of health personnel in this study. Its effect on autopsy request and acceptance rates should be further evaluated.