Nigerian Journal of Clinical Practice

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Knowledge and practice of universal precautions against blood borne pathogensamongst house officers and nurses in tertiary health institutions in southeast Nigeria

E.D Adinma, C Ezeama, J.I.B Adinma, M.C Asuzu


To examine the knowledge and practice, as well as factors influencing universal precautions practices amongstNigerianHouse officers andNurses. A Cross-sectional descriptive study. Sample selection was by stratified random sampling. Information was elicited using pretested, structured, self-administered questionnaire. Data were analyzed usingEPI-info. Most Doctors, 66.6%,were aged 26-30 years while the Nurses, 41.1%,were aged 40 years. 57.6% of the Doctors were males, while 85.7% of the Nurses were females. Knowledge of universal precautions measures was high for both categories of respondents - 97.0% for doctors and 92.0% for nurses, although practice was better for the nurses, 75.0%, compared to the doctors, 15.2%, p < 0.05. Themost important factor influencing universal precautions practice is the lack of provision of adequate protective equipments. Other factors, all of which show significant difference between the doctors and nurses (p < 0.05), include carelessness; lack of display of universal precautions guidelines; emergency nature of the procedure; insufficient water supply; patient perceived to be at low risk of blood borne pathogens; pressure of time; and universal precautions equipments interferingwith technical skills. Although knowledge of universal precautions is high for both house officers and nurses, practice is however better amongst the latter than the former. The effective knowledge and practice of universal precautions amongst hospitalworkers are of absolute necessity to prevent infections fromblood and body fluid pathogens.

Keywords: Nigeria; knowledge and practice; universal precautions; healthcare workers; tertiary health institutions.

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