Nigerian Medical Practitioner

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Personal Health Practices of Doctors in a Teaching Hospital in Nigeria

CA Iyaniwura


Healthy lifestyle and clinical preventive activities have been shown to improve health status of individuals. However routine health promotion and preventive services is limited in medical practice due to time and cost constraint. This study examines how physicians themselves try to promote their own health. Ninety doctors from Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital, Sagamu were involved in the study. The result showed that 31.7% of the doctors used seat belt regularly. Only one-fifth of the respondents exercise regularly despite the fact that 50% of them had body mass index (BMI) greater than 25kg/m2. One-fifth take alcoholic drink (mostly occasionally) while only 1.1% smoked pipe. All the doctors who had casual sexual partners (8.9%) used condom in the relationship.

Forty-five percent had completed their tetanus vaccine, 16.7% had completed hepatitis B vaccine while 34.4% had received yellow fever vaccine in the past 10yrs. Only 31.1% checked their blood pressure monthly, 36.7% have had their HIV status checked in the last two years while only 6.7% of the females had done a Pap smear despite the fact that these services were relatively free for the hospital staff at the time of the study. Regular monthly breast self –examination was practiced by 53.3% of the female physicians. None of the eligible females had done a mammogram. There was no statistical difference in the health practices of both sexes.

Nigerian Physicians should pay more attention to their personal health practices than they are doing presently. There is need for continuous physician education, clearly stated policies and guidelines to direct preventive health activities in Nigeria.
Key words: Health Practices, Physicians, Body Mass.
Nigerian Medical Practitioner Vol.46(5-6) 2004: 91-96
AJOL African Journals Online