Assessing Health Workers Knowledge on the Determinants of Health: A Study in Enugu Nigeria
Background: Different social economic and personal factors have been touted as determining a person's health. This encompasses a person's living environment, economic status, genetic makeup, physical attributes and not just access to health services. It is important that health workers recognize that a person's socio-economic environment can have an adverse effect on the health status of the individual so as to capture this aspect in their choice of intervention.
Methods: The study was carried out in two tertiary institutions in Enugu state selected purposively because they housed a dental clinic. It was a descriptive cross sectional study consisting of 87 participants which represented all the dental staff available during the study period. The participants were interviewed with a structured questionnaire used to elicit the knowledge of health workers on health determinants.
Results: When individual factors were considered, a greater percentage of health workers, believed that safe drinking water (98.9%), where a person lives (96.6%) and a balanced diet, affect health more than availability of health services (59.8%) or the ability of the health care system to meet the needs of the people (55.2%). However when ranking the magnitude of the contribution of the various determinants of health the majority (37.9%) considered a good health care system the most important contributory factor to determining health of a community while social environment (14.9%) was the least.
Conclusion: The ranking of good healthcare system over social environment points to the emphasis being laid on curative instead of preventive management of diseases, which have been entrenched in our health workers. Considerations should therefore be made for public health institutions to dwell more on health promotion and education activities to educate both health personnel and individuals on the importance of the social determinants on health.