Knowledge and Compliance with Standard Precaution Among Healthcare Workers in A South-East Nigerian Tertiary Hospital
Background: Adherence to standard precautions (SP) is critical to reducing the burden of nosocomial infections.
Objective: We assessed the knowledge and practice of SP among healthcare workers (HCWs).
Methodology: A cross-sectional study was conducted among HCWs in Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH), Nnewi Anambra State, Nigeria using self-administered questionnaire and key informant interview.
Results: Mean age and employment duration of subjects were 33.4±11.9 and 6.0 ± 6.7 years, respectively. Majority of the 341 HCWs had heard about SP (82.1%) and agreed that it should be applied to all patient care (78.0%). Only 45.7% of them correctly cited ≥2 components of SP. Two-third of participants reported that SP was poorly practiced in their unit mainly due to inadequate supply of materials (63.1%), inadequate staff training/retraining (62.2%), inadequate support by management (51.4%) and unavailable standard operating procedures (SOPs) on SP (37.8%). Compliance with SP and specifically, personal protective equipment (PPE) use were 65.1% and 76.2%, respectively. Profession (p=0.023), awareness about SP (p<0.001), SOP display in prominent places (p<0.001) and regular supply of running water (p<0.001) were significantly associated with SP compliance.
Key informant interview revealed lack of written SP policies or its communication to HCWs, lack of training/retraining of HCWs and lack of materials required for SP practice.
Conclusion: Knowledge of basic concept and practice of SP was not satisfactory among HCWs. Major barriers to SP were lack of materials, training and active support by hospital management. Awareness, SOP display in prominent places and regular supply of running water positively influenced SP compliance.
Having written policies and communicating such to all HCWs, consistent supply of necessary materials, intensified training, and regular supervision are recommended
Keywords: Universal precautions, Nosocomial infections, Tertiary hospitals, Health Personnel, Nigeria